US authorities have charged a man with stealing a Salvador Dali painting from a Manhattan gallery – only to return it in the mail.
The 29-year-old suspect, Phivos Istavrioglou of Greece, called his own attempt "stupid", according to an account of a confession contained in court papers.
He left fingerprints that helped authorities track him down and was arrested for the theft of the work, called Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio.
Istavrioglou appeared in court on Tuesday.
As soon as he had stolen the work, he "was scared and couldn't believe what a stupid thing he did," the papers say, according to The Associated Press.
Prosecutors say Istavrioglou stole the painting in broad daylight while visiting the Upper East Side gallery in June.
After pulling it off the wall, he stashed it in a shopping bag and flew with it back to Athens, authorities said.
"It was almost surreal how this theft was committed - a thief is accused of putting a valuable Salvador Dali drawing into a shopping bag in the middle of the afternoon, in full view of surveillance cameras," District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.
News reports say the work is valued at approximately \$150,000 (£97,000).
After security video images of the man were widely circulated, Istavrioglou panicked, rolled up the watercolour in a cardboard tube and mailed it back to New York without a return address, prosecutors say.
After he was identified by police, investigator posing as an art gallery owner tricked Istavrioglou into returning to New York by offering him a possible position as a consultant.
Federal agents intercepted Istavrioglou at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday.
He pleaded not guilty to grand larceny during a brief court appearance in Manhattan where a judge set bail at \$100,000 (roughly £65,000).