Major Klaus von dem Eberbach of NATO and his pet art thief/consultant/not-actually-my-
Eroica points out that to do the job right, they need to replace the paintings with forgeries (that don't include the encoded information.) Klaus says "can't you do it?" and Eroica replies, "You flatter me, darling, but I'm out of practice. And I was never quite that good. Or that fast."
"If you can't--"
"Patience, my darling. I know several people who could do the job. As for people who could do the job and would be willing to do it for NATO, and NATO would be willing to hire--" He looks up at Klaus through his eyelashes. "We're going to have to go to New York."
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....and then they done crime, the end.