Major Art Theft from Museum in Verona
Seventeen Old Master paintings worth an estimated €15 million were stolen last night from the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona according to reports in Corriere della Sera and the Guardian. Among the works taken was Pisanello’s Madonna of the Quail (above), Andrea Mantegna’s Holy Family with a Saint, and five paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto.
According to Corriere della Sera:
The hit was carried out by a gang of three professionals, who immobilized the only private security guard and the cashier, before forcing the guard to accompany them to the rooms where the paintings were on show.
“They were professionals; they knew what to take and they knew the museum,” commented the mayor of Verona, Flavio Tosi, who stayed at the scene until late in the night.
The Guardian reports:
Three men dressed in black entered the Castelvecchio museum in northern Italy at the evening change of guard on Thursday, tying up and gagging the site’s security officer and a cashier before taking the paintings.
Council spokesman Roberto Bolis said the museum had 24-hour security but the robbery had been planned so that the thieves arrived after the building emptied but before the alarms had been activated.
“We don’t yet know if they were armed, or whether they took the security officer’s weapon,” he said, adding that both the guard and cashier were in shock and were being debriefed by investigators.
“They tied up the security officer as well and took his keys so they could get away in his car,” he said. One of the men watched over the hostages while the other two raided the exhibition rooms. “It was only once they were able to untie themselves that the alarm was raised,” Bolis added.
Footage from the 48 cameras installed in and around the premises has been handed over to police.