Infamous art thief charged with stealing hay from farm
Police chased and arrested a notorious art thief Wednesday night after they say officers caught him stealing bales of hay from Twin Elm Farm on Bates Street.
Myles J. Connor, 68, of 21 Residential Lane, Blackstone - a self-proclaimed master art thief - was arrested at 11:44 p.m. and charged with trespassing, larceny from a building and larceny under $250, Detective David Kurczy said.
Connor was released without bail and is scheduled to appear in Milford District Court on Oct. 13.
Since Connor has had more than three charges on his record, he was also charged with being a common and notorious thief, Kurczy said.
Police say Connor was arrested shortly after they saw him trying to make off with the hay.
A few weeks ago, an employee at the cattle farm told police that hay bales had been sporadically disappearing from the farm overnight. The hay was valued at more than $1,000, so police started keeping an eye on the property.
On Wednesday, Connor threw the bales over a fence, then jumped the fence and ran from police, Kurczy said.
"He ran for the woods, but police got him pretty quick. He didn't get very far," Kurczy said.
Connor was charged with larceny because he had four bales of hay in his possession Wednesday night, police said.
Connor told police he forgot to leave money for the hay.
Police said they think Connor was planning to use a car, which was parked nearby, to drive back and pick up the bales he threw over the fence, Kurczy said.
Connor may have planned to use the hay for horses he owns, Kurczy said.
Twin Elm Farm's owner, Linda Varney, could not be reached for comment.
For decades, Connor has made crime headlines, some merely alleged, others for which he was convicted, and still others to which he has admitted.
In 2009, Connor, the son of a Milton police officer, released a book called "The Art of the Heist: Confessions of a Master Art Thief, Rock-and-Roller, and Prodigal Son," a memoir outlining the story of his career as a cat burglar, thief, con man and museum heister.
In 1966, Connor was arrested after a rooftop shootout in Boston. A state police captain was shot in the exchange, and Connor suffered four gunshot wounds.
In 1973, the Woolworth family compound in Monmouth, Maine, was robbed of dozens of paintings. A year later, Connor was arrested after he led undercover FBI agents to the paintings.
In 1975, two 18-year-old girls were stabbed to death after they witnessed fugitives shooting two men. One of the murderers, Thomas Sperrazza, later said Connor arranged the murder.
Connor was found guilty in 1981, but his conviction was overturned in 1984.
In 1978, Connor was accused of stealing Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Girl, Wearing a Gold-trimmed Cloak," from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. He never admitted to the crime but brokered the painting's return in exchange for avoiding prison time for the Woolworth art theft in Maine.
In 1990, he was convicted in federal court of stealing several paintings from the Mead Museum at Amherst College in 1975. He served 10 years in prison.
While in custody in 1990, two men stole an estimated $300 million worth of paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The FBI suspected Connor was the mastermind, but he was never charged.
Connor offered to help get the items returned in exchange for the reward and his release from prison. Authorities refused, and the paintings have yet to be recovered.
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