Stolen Picasso resurfaces in Romania six years later

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BUCHAREST (Reuters) – A painting believed to be “Tête d’Arlequin” by Pablo Picasso stolen in 2012 from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum has turned up in Romania, prosecutors said on Sunday.

In one of the art world’s most dramatic heists, thieves made off with seven paintings, worth millions of euros, by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others.

While the Romanian ringleader and his accomplices were convicted of the theft in 2013, none of the artworks had been recovered and Romanian experts believed at least three of them had been burned in an attempt to destroy evidence.

FILE PHOTO: An empty spot on the wall marks the place where the stolen Henri Matisse painting was in Rotterdam's Kunsthal art gallery in the Netherlands October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Robin van Lonkhuijsen/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People stand outside the court building where the trial of suspects in the theft of seven paintings from a Dutch museum last year, is taking place in Bucharest October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Police officers investigate the surroundings of Rotterdam's Kunsthal art gallery in the Netherlands October 16, 2012. File Photo

“Anti-organized crime prosecutors are investigating the circumstances under which a painting signed by Picasso worth roughly 800,000 euros ($913,440) was found on Saturday evening in Tulcea county,” they said in a statement, adding the painting is being authenticated.

They said two Dutch citizens arrived at the Netherlands Embassy in Bucharest with the painting saying they had found it in the southeastern Romanian county.

Security camera footage released at the time of the theft showed a gang entering through a back door of the museum and disappearing from view. Seconds later they reappeared carrying bulky objects.

The other stolen works were Matisse’s “La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge, London” and “Charing Cross Bridge, London”, Gauguin’s “Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte”, Meijer De Haan’s “Autoportrait” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”.

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