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Germany Fans Celebrate World Cup Win by Trying to Steal $1M Painting

MAINZ, Germany — Two soccer fans who tried to steal a $1-million painting in a fit of World Cup euphoria spent five months cooling off behind bars. Lukas D., 23, and 24-year old Daniel G. — who cannot be fully identified for legal reasons — hit "several local bars" after Germany's soccer team won the tournament on July 13, according to Nuremberg Court spokesman Michael Hammer.

“When they later passed the local art museum they decided to climb up the temporary scaffold to the roof to watch the sunrise,” he said. The two students then reportedly entered the museum through an open skylight and used their cellphone lights to navigate through the dark building. They allegedly tried to steal Emil Nolde's 1910 "Herr und Dame" artwork, valued at more than $1 million, but triggered an alarm and were arrested.

"It was an act of huge stupidity and the greatest mistake of my life," one defendant said in court Tuesday, according to German news agency dpa. The court on Tuesday gave the 24-year-old a suspended sentence of 21 months for "attempted theft." The younger of the pair was given a suspended sentence of 15 months.

"The gathering of evidence, where no gloves or tools were found and no connections to art dealers were identified, led to the conclusion that this was not a planned burglary,” Hammer said. The duo have since been released from investigative custody.

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— Andy Eckardt