Like people’s lives, some obituaries are more interesting than others. Such is the case with Peter Scott — born Peter Craig Gulston, but better known as the “King of the Cat Burglars” and “Burglar to the Stars” — who died last week at the age of 82. A lengthy send-off in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph recalled Scott’s decades-long, extremely larcenous career, which resulted in £30 million in jewelry, furs, and artwork stolen mostly from celebrities. In a 1994 letter to the Telegraph in which he said it would be “a massive disappointment” if he did not eventually get a mention in the paper’s “illustrious obituary column,” Scott listed nearly a hundred of his illustrious targets, which included Vivien Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Judy Garland, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, Maria Callas, the Shah of Iran, the late Queen Mother, and Sophia Loren (who he said “got what she deserved” when he stole a £200,000 necklace from her.)
He justified his exploits in his 1995 memoir, Gentleman Thief, where he wrote that he was “sent by God to take back some of the wealth that the outrageously rich had taken from the rest of us.” Though Scott lived lavishly with “flashy cars, luxury homes and fast women,” he did fulfill the “give to the poor” end of his Robin Hood story by ending up broke after “[giving] all my money to head waiters and tarts.” (He also served a total of twelve years in prison.) His career was the inspiration for the 1965 movie Who Rides a Tiger, which we might watch while we wait for The Bling Ring to come out.