Woman Stole More Than $650K Worth of Photographer’s Prints

The Chester County photographer shot National Geographic's iconic Afghan Girl portrait.

Bree DeStephano (left); McCurry's famous National Geographic cover photo (right).

Bree DeStephano (left); Steve McCurry’s famous National Geographic cover photo (right).

A York County woman was sentenced to nine to 23 months in prison Thursday for stealing more than $650,000 worth of prints and books from the Chester County photographer who shot National Geographic’s famous Afghan Girl portrait, the Inquirer reports.

Bree DeStephano, 33, pleaded guilty in April to three felony charges related to theft and conspiracy for plundering the work of renowned photographer Steve McCurry, according the Inquirer.

DeStephano worked as a manager at McCurry’s studio in Exton. She was accused in June 2015 of working with an art dealer in Colorado to sell McCurry’s prints and share the profits.

DeStephano and her accomplice conspired between May 2012 and November 2013, selling roughly 50 prints, authorities said. Nine or 10 of which were iconic prints of Afghan Girl, which ran on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985 and featured a portrait of a young refugee in Pakistan with striking green eyes.

“This defendant engaged in a calculated, systemic theft from her trusted employer,” Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Noone told the Inquirer. “Her actions affected Steve McCurry’s hard-earned reputation around the world as a premier photographer and artist.”

Most of the prints stolen were valued at $12,500. One was valued at $50,000.

DeStephano also stole more than 200 books of McCurry’s work. Authorities said last year she and her accomplice made between $30,000 and $50,000 by illegally selling the work.

McCurry’s photographs have been featured in every major magazine in the world, according to National Geographic.

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