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Art thief nabbed for another artless crime

July 7, 2012

WOONSOCKET – A man whose exploits as a master art thief have been chronicled in books, magazines and newspapers for decades was arrested after an armed holdup that was anything but artful, police say.
Myles J. Connor, 69, and Suzanne King, 48, both of Blackstone, were charged with one count each of armed robbery and conspiracy after stealing a cell phone from two women with whom they were apparently acquainted.
Detective Sgt. Edward Cunanan said Connor and King used a realistic-looking toy gun to rob the women near CT Plus Convenience store on Hamlet Avenue about 4 p.m.
Cunanan said Connor and King may have wanted to hold the phone as collateral because they believed the women owed them money.
“They were going to hold the phone until they got the money,” he said.
A Boston native, Connor admitted stealing a Rembrandt from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1975 and has done prison time for numerous art thefts, bank robberies and other crimes. The art world has long speculated that he was behind the epic heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston during which some $300 million worth of masterworks vanished in 1990. Connor encourages the theory without quite incriminating himself in “The Art of the Heist,” his 2009 memoir, but serious detectives believe he’s innocent and that Connor’s storytelling is just a ploy to drum up interest in his book.
Indeed, after the book was published, there was talk of a Hollywood movie based on Connor’s life as a criminal mastermind, but lately his deeds seem more seedy than silver-screen slick.
Last April, Connor got caught walking out of the Rite Aid on Social Street with a $20 pair of sunglasses tucked in the sleeve of his jacket and was charged with shoplifting. A couple of months later he was charged with possession of heroin and methamphetamine, said Detective Patrick McGourty, the police officer who arrested Connor Thursday. And in November he was arrested for stealing $300 worth of hay from a farmer in Mendon, Mass.
Longtime companions, King and Connor share their property on Residential Lane in Blackstone with an assortment of farm animals and a few more exotic creatures.

Read more in our print edition.

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