Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Plotting to Recover a Stolen Caravaggio


Father Marius Zerafa (director of museums in Malta), the Malta Police Force, and the Armed Forces of Malta all work together to recover a priceless Caravaggio painting. Utilizing an established channel of communication with a trio of thieves, Zerafa and a detective negotiate the return of the stolen work of art.


- So I told him all about my contacts with the thieves, the conversation, the bits of canvas they were sending me, and they were sending bits cut off from the painting to get us to take a decision.

He came here to the priory.

We discussed it and so on.

And I said okay, let's catch them now.

And I suggested the 4th of August because the 4th of August was the traditional date for the feast of St. Dominic, and I'm a Dominican.

(fireworks firing) (bells ringing) (lively band music) (drink pouring) (pensive music) So you can imagine the scene in my office at the Auberge de Provence.

For the first time in my life, the door was closed.

My secretary was sort of dishing out whiskey and tea, and so on.

He was smoking like crazy.

(pensive music) (indistinct radio chatter) (click switching) (helicopter whirring) At the same time, there was the army chief in a helicopter going round.

(helicopter whirring) - It was agreed the day before, in fact, the police would be following him from the ground and I'll be following him from the helicopter.

(helicopter whirring) And we agreed that to be able to identify the vehicle, the van for him, it would have a fluorescent sign on the roof of the van.

(camera snapping) We start to follow him near the shoe factory.

(helicopter whirring) - (indistinct) We are at the gate.

- Copy that, Zulu 2.

Stand by for further instructions.

(phone ringing) - [Marius] They phoned as they did every day.

(suspenseful music) And I said to them, there's lawyer, would you like to have a word with him?

They said, 'Yes, of course.'

- Yes.

- He took up the phone and he said we're interested.

And he said cut another piece of the painting and put it somewhere.

Once we find it, we'll give you the money.

(pensive music)


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.