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Police arrest three Romanian suspects from the spectacular Dutch art heist

Romanian police have arrested three Romanian men suspected of an audacious art theft from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal Museum. Seven paintings by some of the world’s best known artists were stolen from the museum in October last year. However, none of the painting have been recovered, according to Roland Ekkers, a spokesman for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond police, quoted by news agency Bloomberg.

The seven stolen art works were Picasso’s Tete d’Arlequin, Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, London (in picture), and Charing Cross Bridge, London, Freud’s Woman with Eyes Closed, Matisse’s La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune, Gauguin’s Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite la Fiancee, and Meyer de Haan’s Autoportrait. Estimates for the value of the paintings run at around the EUR 200 million mark.

German news service Deutsche Welle describes the robbery on October 16 last year as a “lightning speed, audacious theft,” in which the thieves broke into the museum, stole the paintings and made their escape within 90 seconds. At the time, the heist baffled Dutch Police, who couldn’t understand how the thieves had got round the museum’s alarm systems.

Romania’s organized crime and terrorism unit DIICOT made the arrests and now have three Romanian men in custody, whom they can hold for up to 29 days, according to Mediafax. A Bucharest court issued a warrant on January 21 and the arrests were the result of a Romanian police operation, rather than an investigation by the Dutch authorities, according to reports.

The hunt goes on for the missing art works, in what has been described as the biggest art heist for 20 years in the Netherlands.

Liam Lever, liam@romania-insider.com

(photo source: http://www.artofmonet.com)