Cops dub pensioners' theft of portrait from Irish hotel 'Great Escape'

CCTV footage of Steve McQueen theft
CCTV footage of Steve McQueen theft

Police hunting two pensioners suspected of stealing a huge portrait of Steve McQueen - one who made her getaway using a walking stick - have dubbed the crime the "Great Escape".

The women stole the 6ft x 4ft black and white picture from the bar of a new hotel named after one of McQueen's most iconic films - Bullitt.

But the theft ultimately failed because the artwork was too big to fit in the ladies' car.

Police said the suspects were in their late 60s and both had shoulder-length blonde hair and were wearing glasses.

Officers said one was wearing a zebra print jacket and the pensioner who carried the portrait out of the hotel was using a walking aid.

The incident happened at the Bullitt hotel on Ann Street in Belfast shortly after 8pm on Sunday evening. The new hotel had only opened to the public the day before.

The picture was later recovered, with some damage, beside Tedfords restaurant on nearby Donegall Quay.

On a Facebook post about the crime, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) used the following hashtags - #notjustanysunday #KeepingPortraitsSafe #thenotsomagnificenttwo #stevemcqueen #thegreatescape.

Michael Sullivan, general manager at Bullitt Belfast, said he was glad the artwork had been recovered.

"It wasn't quite the Great Escape it's been billed as though - the unlikely perpetrators were foiled in their attempts when they couldn't fit the painting in their vehicle," he added.

"We are most grateful for the vigilance of our neighbours at Tedfords Kitchen for their assistance in returning the painting."

Police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.