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Accused would-be MAG art thief faces new charge 

George Haag describes removing a portrait of Andy Warhol by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe from the wall at the Memorial Art Gallery.

PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

George Haag describes removing a portrait of Andy Warhol by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe from the wall at the Memorial Art Gallery.

The people have upped the stakes in their case against George Haag, the accused would-be art thief who is alleged to have tried to steal a photograph from an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery in January 2021.

Haag, 38, last year refused a plea deal from Monroe County prosecutors to move his case to mental health court, which provides treatment for non-violent offenders living with mental illness, as an alternative to trial and potential incarceration.

At the time, he stood accused of grand larceny in the second degree, a felony that carries a maximum seven-year prison term, for allegedly attempting to take a portrait of Warhol by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe valued at $60,000 out of the museum.

After the plea deal fell apart, his case was presented to a grand jury, which tacked on an additional charge of third-degree burglary, a felony that also carries a potential seven years in prison.

RELATED: An accused would-be art thief has his day in court

Prosecutors said during arraignment in January that the new charge was related to Haag apparently not paying to enter the museum the day of his alleged crime. They sought to have him jailed pending the posting of $5,000 bail.

State Supreme Court Justice Alex Renzi rejected the bail application and scheduled Haag to return to court on Feb. 23.

In an interview with CITY last year, Haag acknowledged removing the Mapplethorpe portrait from the wall at the MAG, but explained that he set it down in another room of the exhibit before leaving the museum because he thought it would look better elsewhere.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.
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