A ex-employee of Steve McCurry has been accused of stealing more than $650,000 worth of his prints, including the iconic Afghan Girl photo, from one of the legendary photographer’s US studios.
A press release issued by the District Attorney’s Office of Chester County in Pennsylvania has named the defendant as Bree DeStephano, 32, of West Market Street, York, Pennsylvania, who has been arrested for ‘theft and related offenses’.
DeStephano is accused of stealing 50 prints from McCurry’s studio in Exton, Pennsylvania – valued at $628,000 – after arranging to have them shipped from the photographer’s New York base.
She also stole books and other items, selling them on for personal gain, states Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan who said in a statement: ‘In order to take photographs like Afghan Girl, Steve McCurry was exposed to extraordinary risks, tremendous costs and spent years of his career…
‘Then the defendant casually abused her position of trust to make some easy money, without a thought to Mr McCurry.’
The thefts – valued at $654,358.02 in total – are alleged to have occurred between May 2012 and November 2013.
DeStephano’s job as fine art print sales manager was terminated when the allegations first arose, added the District Attorney who stressed that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven in court.
According to Associated Press, DeStephano’s lawyer Daniel Bush said his client is co-operating with investigators, but added that he may dispute the total value of the alleged thefts stated by officials.