Amateur thief steals $1.5 million in golden purses from China's Forbidden City

He was lured by the small gold items, some covered in jewels.

Nothing elaborate is needed to deceive.

A man saw Western-style purses and cosmetic containers in a display case at the museum inside China's Forbidden City. He decided to steal them. So he smashed open the case, later ran from a guard who tried to detain him, then spent the night in the museum and eluded guards, alarm systems and dogs, and then walked out the next day.

How did it happen?

The museum was in the process of upgrading its security system, which was not yet in place. Also, guards who worked the night shift may not have taken their jobs as seriously, since what could happen at night?

The suspected thief, Shi Baikui, was caught three days later at a Beijing Internet café.

Some wonder if there is more to the case. Did he act alone? Could he really have eluded security? Or was this some kind of conspiracy or as yet unknown political ploy by the government?

Shi Baikui 

- How an amateur stole $1.5 million in art from China's Forbidden City, The Christian Science Monitor>>
- Forbidden City's stolen reputation, China.org>> 
- Purse Snatcher Embarrasses Chinese Museum, the New York Times>>

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