Massive Art Heist Rocks Dutch Museum

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 16 2012 10:21 AM

Massive Art Heist Nets "One Hell of a Haul"

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A white spot on the wall marks the location of a stolen painting at the Rotterdam Kunsthal museum on Oct. 16, 2012

Photograph by Robin Utrecht/AFP/Getty Images.

An early Tuesday morning art heist has left the walls of one Dutch museum bereft of paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, and Freud.

The works of art were on display at the Kunsthal Museum (which has no permanent collection of its own), and were part of an exhibition from the Triton Foundation's avant garde collection.

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According to the BBC, the art thieves did set off the museum's alarms at around 3 a.m. but managed to escape with the paintings by the time police arrived. Dutch police have called the robbery "well-prepared."

The Associated Press with more:

Indications are that the perpetrators of the crime knew which pieces they were after.
Chris Marinello, director of The Art Loss Register, which tracks stolen artworks, said it was clear some of the most valuable pieces in the collection were targeted. "Those thieves got one hell of a haul," Marinello said.
Marinello said the items taken could even be worth "hundreds of millions of euros" — if sold legally at auction. However, he said that was now impossible, as the paintings have already been registered internationally as stolen.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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