Three Romanians plead guilty in 2012 Rotterdam art theft

Art theft suspects Eugen Darie, right, and Radu Dogaru are escorted by police as they arrive handcuffed at a courthouse in Bucharest, Romania.
(Robert Ghement / EPA)

Three Romanians pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing seven works of art from a museum in the Netherlands in 2012, according to reports.

The theft, which netted valuable works by Monet, Matisse, Gaugin, Picasso, Lucian Freud and Meijer de Haan, occurred last October at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam.

The theft drew worldwide media attention when a mother of one of the suspects said she destroyed the works by incinerating them in a stove, only to later recant her claim. Arrests in the case were made in January but the stolen art has yet to be recovered.

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On Tuesday, a court in Bucharest, Romania, heard pleas from three suspects -- Radu Dogaru, Alexandru Bitu and Eugen Darie. The defendants told the court they transported the artworks to Romania with the intention of selling them, and left them with Dogaru’s mother, according to the Associated Press.

Six Romanians are under suspicion for involvement in the theft. Reuters reported that a lawyer for Dogaru is claiming that his client had help from an inside source, though the identity of that individual has not been made public.

Last year’s heist is believed to have taken place in a matter of minutes, with thieves entering and exiting through a back door of the museum during the night.



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