Forget Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, and Michael Caine in Gambit. According to Anthony M. Amore in The New York Times, the criminals who steal priceless works of art in real life aren't even as glamorous as an aging Pierce Brosnan in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.
"Most of us envision balaclava-clad cat burglars rappelling through skylights into museums and, like Hollywood characters, contorting their bodies around motion-detecting laser beams," he writes. "Instead, they are the same crooks who rob armored cars for cash, pharmacies for drugs and homes for jewelry. They are often opportunistic and almost always shortsighted."
The extreme difficulty of fencing a famous masterpiece, means that those who do fancy the risk, likely only do so once and without much thought, argues Amore. Yet again, it seems the movies are better than real life.