We don’t often hear about grand art robberies these days, probably because of the extravagant security systems that have been created in order to protect multi-million dollar pieces. That however, didn’t stop a group of thieves from breaking into Rotterdam Kunsthal museum in the Netherlands on Tuesday at 3 a.m. ABC News reports that the public is calling this grand heist, “one of the most dramatic daring in recent years” because this team of thieves was able to make away with over $100 million worth of paintings. Reports share that there were 7 paintings that were taken including Picasso, Matisse, and Monet.
What is interesting about a heist like this, according to Christopher Marinello of The Art Loss Register, is that once stolen the artwork becomes literally priceless. Due to the popularity of the paintings taken, thieves will not be able to actually sell them for money because there will be no price available. What a heist like this can do is create an excellent trading good, though the thieves cant receive money for the works, often times expensive pieces will be used for trading weapons, guns and the like.
With cases like this, the insurance companies get involved with the investigations, and it is very likely that the thieves will seek to place a ransom value on the art in order for the museums to get them back. The museum shared in a press conference that this heist is a “nightmare” and that the thieves walked away with some of their most important pieces of art. It is said that the Art Loss Register, located in England, keeps a close eye on stolen artwork all over the world, and is said to have the largest database of information on these goods. Marinello claims that these thieves knew what they were after, and made it out with “one hell of a haul” because of the importance of each of the paintings.
This case is throwing everyone for a loop, and the head of security with the museum believes that the pieces will float around the criminal world for a while before they show up. It is also not unlikely that they will be destroyed because of the impossibility of actually selling the stolen works. There is an even greater likelihood that the art was stolen for the purpose of receiving ransom money, kidnapping artwork is not uncommon, because the thieves will seek to earn even more money for the paintings in return for the stolen goods.
The Rotterdam Kunsthal museum claims that their security system is extremely fast responding, so even though they likely had more to steal, they were still able to make it out with 7 highly important and valuable paintings. They are currently reviewing all of the possible security footage, and believe that they are able to distinguish the make of the car that was used to get away believing that the made their entrance and exit from the rear end of the museum.
Charles Hill, a retired Scotland Yard art detective is now a private investigator, but shares that from what he can tell this crime was conducted by professionals due to their precision and speed in the heist. Hill is known for his help in the retrieval of stolen piece by Edvard Munch, “The Scream” in 1994; a case for which he went undercover in order to save. He believes the heist was stolen by a “major-league villain” who likely has a large debt to someone.
The museum was in the middle of a new exhibition at the time of the heist, celebrating their 20 years of being around. The theme of the exhibition was to display a variety of different modern art genres such as impressionism and expressionism and so on. The Triton Foundation collection was the group that owned the 150 different pieces of art work shown at the Rotterdam Kunsthal museum.
Grand theft is a huge crime, and if a person is accused and convicted there can be serious consequences. Burglary in specific is considered to be the act of breaking and entering a premises with intent to steal. Obviously, this action is considered to be illegal because the entrance was done without permission. While the art work from the museum was in another country, there can still be cases of theft here in the U.S. while they may not be as grand or dramatic as this, the punishment is still severe. If you or someone you know has been accused of theft at any level, contact Knowles Law Firm today to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney who can help you!