Thieves may know their art but lack good judgment

opinions

August 19, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Art thieves facing trial in Romania are hoping to cut a deal with a judge to allow the trial to be moved to Holland in exchange for proof the paintings are in “safe” hands.
The seven paintings include works by Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso and Monet, and are insured for $24 million.
Earlier this summer a mother of one of the defendants claimed she had burned the paintings in hopes of destroying proof her son had been involved in the heist of the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Holland.
A collective gasp from art lovers across the world was sounded at the thought such masterpieces were tossed into a backyard incinerator in such wanton behavior.
It’s still unclear whether one or more of the paintings were in fact destroyed. Remains of paint, canvas and nails consistent with those of the famous works were found in the primitive oven.
Members of the Romanian gang have given no proof the paintings still exist, though claim they can produce five of the seven.
The October raid on the museum ranks among the most daring of the last few decades in terms of booty and efficiency. The pre-dawn heist took less than three minutes to pull off.
Altogether, six participated in the heist; one remains on the lam.
The thieves were discovered when they tried to market the paintings to a private individual who asked an art expert’s advice as to their value.
The gig was up once the consultant saw she was looking at the stolen originals.

THE THIEVES want the trial to be moved to the Netherlands because they believe its treatment would be less harsh.
Perhaps because they are accustomed to a life of extortion, bribery and threats, they believe they  still hold the trump card that will dictate their future.
Crime doesn’t pay. Justice can’t be bought. Whether Romanian or Dutch, the judge should run the show and put the thugs in their rightful place — behind bars for a long, long time.
— Susan Lynn

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