BUCHAREST (AFP) – On Tuesday, a Romanian man who admitted to stealing works by Gauguin, Monet and Picasso, threatened to sue the Dutch museum that housed the works claiming that the robbery was too easy. Radu Dogaru is one of six men currently standing trial for last year’s heist from the Kunthal museum which took only three minutes to remove the masterpieces.
Dogaru told the court “I could not imagine that a museum would exhibit such valuable works with so little security.” Authorities confirmed that despite their estimated $24 million value, none of the paintings was equipped with an alarm.
Dogaru’s defense attorney Caitlin Dancu told journalists “We can clearly speak of negligence with serious consequences. If we do not receive answers about who is guilty” for the failure of the security system at the museum, “we are considering hiring Dutch lawyers to start a legal case in The Netherlands or in Romania.” She explained that if the museum is found guilty of negligence, it “would have to share the burden of compensation” with his client, who faces millions in claims from insurers.
The heist took place just before dawn on October 16, 2012 with the thieves making off with Pablo Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Paul Gaugin’s “Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee.”
Authorities have been unable to locate the missing works. “The paintings were certainly not destroyed. I don’t know where they are but I believe they have been sold”, Dogaru told the judge. Another theory authorities are exploring is the possibility Dogaru’s mother destroyed them in a stove in an attempt to destroy evidence against her son.
Dogaru faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. His next hearing is set for November 19.
The thieves who knew very little about art, settled on the Kunthal museum by chance after seeing a poster for one of its exhibitions.