Yesterday, on August 21 at 7:30am, a man of average stature moving at a deliberate and measured pace exited the main entrance of a well-known Parisian building. Pinched under his arm was an inch-and-half-thick panel of poplar wood wrapped unceremoniously in a white smock. He crossed the connecting courtyard and made his way to the street with quickening steps, his pulse mounting with excitement and disbelief. Could it really have been that easy?

He traced a carefully chosen path toward the bus station as his hand nonchalantly released a small object into a nearby ditch. The street was eerily quiet, as was most of Paris this time of year; any gentlemen who had remained in the city were shuffling briskly toward offices or away from the previous night’s romantic endeavors. Had these hurried pedestrians bothered to track the movements of the Italian immigrant with a white bundle under his arm…

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