A man who aspired to be a professional football player grew up to become a petty criminal before stealing one of the world’s most iconic artworks.
Pal Enger made news in 1994 when he attempted to steal Edward Munch’s The Scream, which was valued at £120 million.
He was imprisoned for six years for a theft that lasted hardly seconds.
‘By day, I was a professional footballer at the best club. By night, I was the best criminal in Norway,’ he says, in a new documentary following the heist.
Enger wasted his money and popularity in the outset of his criminal career by stealing jewels and robbing ATMs, but he still wanted’more’.
He wanted to demonstrate the world that he could ‘pull off something spectacular,’ and he succeeded.
After a tough childhood, he thought he could immediately identify to Munch’s picture and set his eyes on it.
But their robbery didn’t go off as planned, with Enger and his co-conspirators snatching the wrong picture, and it wasn’t long until Enger had to turn himself in to police after fleeing.
At the moment, his failure discouraged him from doing anything similar again.
But he quickly changed his mind, and after being freed from jail in 1994, he plotted his ideal theft.
The documentary follows Enger as he details his theft strategy and method – to which he did not even commit himself.
Enger planned his strategy, double-checking that the glass wasn’t bulletproof, calculating how long it would take to climb up a ladder to the correct window, and timed the crime to coincide with the Olympics in Oslo, so the police would be elsewhere busy.
Enger then went back to his family’s house, leaving the dirty task to two others.
‘I was scared before, I felt like I shouldn’t do it, all night before,’ Enger recalled.
Despite his hesitations, Enger’s plan went ‘perfectly’, just as he intended, and they left with the masterpiece, leaving a note behind, on his instructions, which read: ‘Thank you for the bad security.’
‘I was so happy,’ Enger recalled. ‘I felt the power.’
He imagined he’d retain the item for a few years after embarrassing the national authorities.
However, suspicions about Enger developed ‘straight away’ following his unsuccessful theft two years prior.
He felt he was ‘untouchable,’ even calling the cops to throw them off his trail and to ‘harass’ them.
‘I was totally sure the police had no evidence on me,’ he says at one point.
However, his ‘foolproof’ strategy was not as safe as he imagined, and while authorities struggled to figure out how to get the masterpiece back, international police teams were brought in to assist.
And it was a Scotland Yard officer who ultimately captured Enger, arresting him at the time for firearms charges, following some undercover operation with police masquerading as art dealers dealing with Enger’s associates.
He was convicted of stealing and sentenced to the heaviest jail term in Norway at the time – six years and three months.
‘Every minute goes, I understand everything f**ked up.’
The Man Who Stole The Scream airs this Saturday, August 19, at 9pm on Sky Discovery.
Source My Celebrity Life.