Cruise ship passenger stole a painting the size of a door

A recovering drug addict who stole a copy of a famous oil painting from a cruise ship was fined $500 in Magistrates’ Court.

Kevin Hudgeons, 43, of Kentucky, yesterday admitted stealing an official copy of a Rembrandt painting valued at $13,114.06 while a passenger on the Norwegian Star.

Prosecutor Larissa Burgess said security staff on board the vessel saw Hudgeons as he attempted to leave the ship with a large painting at 7.25am on September 28.

When confronted, Hudgeons said: “I’m going to mail it home.”

He gave various explanations as to how he’d ended up with the painting, telling staff he’d bought it at auction, painted it himself and won it in a raffle.

The ship’s video footage showed Hudgeons removing the painting and carrying it towards his quarters on the ship.

When interviewed by police, Hudgeons said he was under the impression that he won the painting during an on-board raffle.

Defence lawyer Oonagh Vaucrosson told the court that his client had spent the weekend in custody, missed work and was now forced to find alternative travel arrangements to return to the United States.

She said she’d been informed by Hudgeons’ wife that he was on medication to treat opiate withdrawals and had been acting oddly.

Ms Vaucrosson added that the painting was roughly the size of a door. For Hudgeons to carry it so freely without trying to hide it only backed his claim that he genuinely thought he had won the painting, she said.

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner fined Hudgeons $500.

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Published Oct 2, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm)

Cruise ship passenger stole a painting the size of a door

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