An art vandal calmly walked into a gallery with a knife and slashed open a $3 million painting

The Aspen Times/Business InsiderThe moment the man slices open a painting at a gallery in Aspen.
  • A British man has been accused of destroying a multi-million dollar painting in Aspen, Colorado.
  • Surveillance footage shows a man calmly walk into a gallery, head toward the painting, and cut it twice.
  • Police have named Nicholas Morley, whose dad owns the painting, as their suspect.
  • Watch it below.

A British man has been accused of slashing a multimillion-dollar painting in an art gallery in Aspen, Colorado, last year.

Surveillance footage from May 1, 2017, showed a bearded man in a hat and sunglasses saunter into the Opera Gallery, lay down a plank to block the doors from shutting fully, head straight toward the painting, then slash the its bottom-right corner twice.

The whole operation took about 15 seconds, The Aspen Times reported, citing an unidentified gallery employee who was there at the time but couldn’t stop him.

The painting – “Untitled 2004” by Christopher Wool – is valued at $US2.95 million (£2.2 million).

Aspen Police last week identified Nicholas Morley, a 40-year-old British businessman, as the perpetrator. He has been charged with felony criminal mischief and a Colorado judge has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Morley flew from London to Denver with a false name a day before the slashing, rented a car from the airport, and flew back to London two days after committing the crime, The Aspen Times reported, citing court documents.

Gregory Lahmi, the gallery’s owner, last year reported three calls from an unidentified man with a “slight British accent” asking questions including whether the Wool painting was being exhibited, whether Lahmi was alone, how one could enter the gallery, and whether its front door was closed.

Court documents also revealed that Morley’s father, Harold, owned the $US3 million painting through a holding company in Barbados that traded art.

Days after the slashing, Harold Morley told the gallery the artwork could be “easily restored” and asked the gallery’s manager to “defuse any idea that the painting is destroyed or even devalue.”

Nicholas Morley was convicted in 2007 by a Macedonian court of “endangering traffic, leading to death” after a Porsche he was driving collided with another car, killing an elderly couple inside it.

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