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FBI accuses duo of swiping nearly $13,000 in sculptures from Carnival cruise

The recent Carnival cruise left Baltimore and went to Bermuda and back.

November 2, 2023, 12:00 PM

The FBI is accusing two tourists of swiping nearly $13,000 worth of sculptures in the early morning hours of a recent Carnival cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda.

On its website, Carnival Cruise Line says its ships feature "an ever-changing collection of fine art" and touts its onboard auctions, inviting customers to, "[s]ip some champagne, browse the gallery and bid on a piece to take home as a trip memento."

But, according to the FBI, the two tourists allegedly took two expensive pieces home from the Carnival Legend ship a little over a month ago without bidding -- or even paying at all. The duo has yet to be charged.

In court documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Baltimore, seeking permission to obtain a search warrant, the FBI says an art auctioneer working on the ship discovered the two pieces missing on Oct. 1, the day after the ship returned to Baltimore from a week at sea.

PHOTO: Sculptures "Kiss the Sea" and "Tappin the Keys for the Love" identified in court documents as allegedly being stolen from Carnival Cruise Lines.
Sculptures "Kiss the Sea" and "Tappin the Keys for the Love" identified in court documents as allegedly being stolen from Carnival Cruise Lines.
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

One of the missing pieces is a Lucite sculpture by American artist Robert Wyland titled "Kiss the Sea," depicting two sea turtles. The size of a small backpack, it's valued at $6,200, according to court documents. The other missing sculpture, a slightly smaller piece by American artist Marcus Glenn titled "Tappin' the Keys for the Love," depicts a man playing a piano with a heart in the background. It's valued at $6,600, the FBI says.

When Carnival security personnel then reviewed footage from surveillance cameras on the ship, they saw two people shortly after 2 a.m. two days earlier allegedly walking into the art gallery "empty-handed," only to walk out several minutes later carrying objects "consistent in appearance with the missing sculptures," according to the FBI.

Further investigation identified the two people as a trucking company employee and his female companion, according to court documents. When an FBI agent then found the man's profile on Facebook, the agent noticed a recently posted photo of the man "wearing what appears to be the same white dress shirt, dark-colored vest, and striped tie" from the surveillance video, according to court documents.

With a federal judge's approval, the FBI then executed search warrants at their homes and recovered the missing sculptures, according to a spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore.

ABC News is not naming the two suspects because it's unclear if they will be charged. But in court documents, the FBI said it was looking into possible federal charges related to theft and transportation of stolen goods.

On its website, the cruise line says its onboard art auctions are far from the expected "room of too-serious old men, many wearing monocles, paying top-dollar for priceless antique works of art."

Carnival Cruise Line did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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