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Label: verona

Friday 25th March 2016Verona Heist Suspects Arrested

In a result that's at best only halfway to the goal line for police, 12 arrests have been made in one of the largest outstanding art thefts of the last decade. This all sounds like good news, of course, with the exception that none of the missing paintings have been found, and so far none of the suspects are talking.

The robbery took place last year on November 19th, as the armed thieves entered the Castelvecchio museum in Verona, Italy, and made off with 15 paintings from major names. According to the museum, the works were valued at over 15 million euros, and included works by a number of high profile artists including Portrait of a Lady by Peter Paul Rubens, Male Portrait by Tinteretto, and other less well-known works by Hans de Jode, Pisanello, Giovanni Francesco Caroto and Jacopo Bellini. A total of 11 of the stolen works are considered masterpieces by their creators.

The museum's working theory at the time was that the gang had been sent by a private collector to acquire the pieces, and that has yet to be proven or disproven, but it has since transpired that one of the guards who was on duty at the museum at the time was arrested among the suspects in the theft.

“It’s as if you broke into the Uffizi Galleries and stole a Botticelli. You couldn’t sell it on the open market. It’s certainly the most serious theft in the history of Italian art,” said art historian Tomaso Montanari.

Speaking right after the theft, the mayor of Verona summed up the theft: “Someone told them exactly what to steal and given that they are very well-known paintings, I imagine they will end up in a private collection."

“They were real professionals. They didn’t say a word to each other and they struck at exactly the right moment – after the museum had closed to the public but before the alarms had been activated.

“They tied up the guard and the cashier and grabbed the paintings. It was very targeted and deliberate. They went from room to room, knowing what to take.”

Telephone calls between the thieves right after the brazen theft were intercepted, as they were discussing the fact that they would have to wait several months to try to sell the paintings, but as of yet, almost 6 months later, the paintings still have yet to be recovered, and authorities have yet to discuss whether or not they have any active leads on the location of the missing works.
 

Posted on March 25th 2016 on 07:57pm
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