Lifestyle & Belief

Dutch art heist thieves sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison


'Danseuse Dans le Fauteuil, Sol en Damier, 1942' by Henri Matisse is displayed at Sotheby's Auction House on June 5, 2007 in London, England. The painting will be sold at auction along with masterpieces by Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon.


Bruno Vincent

The leader of a gang that stole paintings by Matisse, Monet and Picasso from a Dutch museum in one of the world's largest art heists was sentenced Tuesday to nearly seven years in prison.

Radu Dogaru, 26, and fellow gang member Eugen Darie, both Romanians, received the same sentence for stealing the masterpieces in October 2012.

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The pair pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing the artworks, insured for $24.4 million, from Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum.

The paintings have yet to be found.

Dogaru and Darie, who were not in court to hear the verdict, were ordered to pay 6,000 lei ($1,830) in court costs.

Their sentences can be appealed. 

Still on trial are four other defendants that include Dogaru's mother, Olga, who is accused of destroying the artworks.

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Security camera footage released at the time of the theft showed a gang entering through a back door and disappearing from the camera's view. Seconds later they reappeared carrying bulky objects and left the building by the same entrance.

The works stolen were Picasso's "Tête d'Arlequin", 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".

Reuters contributed to this report.