FBI arrest cruisers in Baltimore for art theft on Carnival Legend

Arrested by the FBI, two passengers sailing on the Carnival Legend cruise ship that departed Baltimore for Bermuda are believed to have stolen art from the ship. It had to happen after the novel Cruise Ship Art Theft explained in detail so many ways art could be stolen from a cruise ship. The book has a much larger scale of art theft than the two accused performed, but this couple is reported to have taken pieces

that included a lucite sculpture by American artist Robert Wyland called Kiss the Sea, which contains two turtles suspended in transparent plastic, and Marcus Glen‘s Tappin’ the Keys for the Love, which is a man playing the piano inside a heart. These limited-edition pieces were valued at $6,200 and $6,600, respectively, according to court documents and has now been reported widely including ABC news broke the story November 2nd, 2023. But limited means little without a parameter telling us how much they are limited, and most cruise ship art cannot claim to be singular pieces. This item can be found on ebay. Click here. It appears there may be a limited number of each version of the statue, and the versions change slightly with a slightly different name. Many can be found on re-sale sites.

Carnival’s UK P&O line team up with Londons Whitewall Gallery and they change stock regularly including many very expensive pieces. Carnival cruise do the same, and like many cruise lines they boast about it on their web site.

Surveillance footage revealed a man and a woman entering the ship’s art gallery at around 2am and leaving with items “consistent in appearance with the missing sculptures,” said the FBI. The camera footage from the ship was presented to the court in Maryland as evidence as he had shared pictures of himself on the ship dressed exactly the same as seen in the security footage.

In the novel which may have inspired them, the team were more clever than just removing objects of art. In the book they replaced them with carefully made copies. Paintings were stolen by swapping them out for excellent copies when the art was either moved or cleaned. That may be said to be easier to do with paintings, but with new smart phones having 3-D cameras, and 3-D printers regularly available, most things can be reproduced now.

It is the job of the art expert on board to continually change and move the pieces so that passing guests are always excited by new works and draw to the change. The expert also gives lectures and talks explaining exactly which pieces are popular, collectable, and likely to grow in value. The novel even goes into detail on how the art is produced and reproduced.

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Art Theft on Amazon Books

In the novel works of art are not only copied, but a team working below decks reproduce pieces that are then also sold. The masters are sent to Russia and the plot thickens until the reveal explodes the twisted art industry. Written like a movie and as exciting as a cruise, the team of cruise investigators out of an office in Miami go under cover with a young African-American intern from their office posing as a featured artist. The young ex art student Macey is hugely talented and takes the risk of going under cover in return for the exposure, however she does not know the danger she is putting herself in as art crime is major financial crime done by people will kill at will. The couple who stole from the Carnival may have been dipping their toes into a potential new career or income stream, but beating cruise ship security cameras should have been lesson one.

Cruising is normally safer than staying at home, with on board security teams and strict rules at sea cruise ships have little crime. However, when the crimes do occur, and it can be at any point of the globe as ships circumnavigate the world, they call in the Miami Cruise Crime Investigators. The crimes in the book cover sex trafficking, murder, money laundering, a serial killer as they cross the Pacific, and a revenge well planned revenge killing as well as the art theft.


As the couple left Baltimore, returned home with the stolen goods, and were then caught it became an American domestic matter. Carrying the stolen goods, and having the stolen goods may be an easier case to make that one of theft which happened outside in international waters.