The theft of the century: the history of burnt paintings and how a Picasso appeared in Tulcea after 6 years – Essential


Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, Monet. Seven valuable paintings were stolen from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam in October 2012. They are believed to have been burned on a stove in Tulcea. And still, six years after the robbery, a painting worth 800,000 euros appears with the first snow under a tree, writes Mediafax.

  • Thief plane and break of 2 minutes and 48 seconds

It was the night of 15-16 October 2012, when the alarm at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam announced the theft of the century. Seven valuable papers disappeared that night in less than three minutes. Later, investigators discovered that Romanians Radu Dogaru and Adrian Procop, aided by Eugen Darie, were able to enter the museum and flee with watercolor and oil.

The stolen works: Pablo Picasso's "Tete d'Arlequin", Henri Matisse's "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune", "Waterloo Bridge" and "Charing Cross Bridge" by Claude Monet, "Femme Devant une Fenêtre Ouverte, Bride "Paul Gauguin," Autoportrait "by Meyer de Haan and" Woman with Eyes Closed "by Lucian Freud.

  • But how it all began …

Radu Dogaru moved from Carcaliu, in Tulcea county, to Rotterdam in 2012. He lived with his girlfriend, Natalia Timofti ("Natasha").

In early October, from the museum posters, he learned that an exhibition of valuable paintings would take place. Then he made more visits, as in the movies, calculating the distance to the parking lot, the distances inside, he noticed the security measures and checked the exits. He was not alone, along with Eugen Darie, Adrian Procop and Andreea Georgiana. In addition, in order to have control over what is happening in the area, Dogaru went regularly at night under the pretext of running.

Radu Dogaru and Adrian Procop managed to enter the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam on the night of October 15 to October 16, forcing an emergency door. They stayed in the museum for a total of 2 minutes and 48 seconds (they entered at 3:22 p.m.). Eugen Darie was waiting for the exit. In the statement later in the file, Darie tells how she saw the two coming in a hurry to the car parked nearby. They wore a large bag of dark color and each holding a holster. They got into the car, put the bag in the trunk, and sat in the back seat.

On October 16, Dogaru Radu and Eugen Darie went to Belgium, where they drove the Peugeot 306 with which they carried the paintings. Meanwhile, millions of euros remained in the possession of Adrian Procop.

Darie told the audience that she had seen the issue of museum robbery on TV, she was scared and decided to go out with her girlfriend, Andreea Damaschin, in the Netherlands. He took the paintings with him and, to bring them to Romania, he took them out of the picture with his accomplices and put them on pillowcases. Above the cushions, they also packed suitcases and a laundry basket. This was the case of a Ford Mondeo, registered in Bulgaria, the Nadlac border on October 19, 2012. No one thought that there were 18 million Euro paintings in that car.

"I went on and on – taking short breaks – Holland-Romania … I entered Romania by Nădlac Customs on the evening of October 18 and I remember spending the night in a hostel near Arad" Eugen Darie told the researchers.

In early November 2012, two paintings were taken to Bucharest to find a buyer. The others were in the bag left by Marcus Marfa, Radu Dogaru's aunt, in Carcaliu, in Tulcea County. She told the audience that she asked what was in the bag, but they told her they were "some things and put them on the shelf".

Later, Olga Dogaru, Radu's mother, went to her sister's house, took out three pictures and put them to take pictures, he said in the indictment. They were trying to find buyers as quickly as possible and apparently wanted to reach Gigi Becali with them. Petre Condrat's maneuver also played a role, being contacted to mediate the sale.

The Dutch Local Police report says, "This morning around 16:15 our headquarters was announced by Trigion security agencies that a collapse occurred in the Kunsthal. Soon Jan Moerer, head of production, discovered on the spot that seven art rooms had been removed from the collection of the Triton Foundation in Room 1, located in the park, here is a list of the works: this list shows the insured value of each piece of paper: the total value of these paintings is EUR 17,100,000. the value insured. It is very possible that the market value is much higher. "

  • The paintings, buried in the cemetery and then burned

Prosecutors were able to reach the image thieves two months after they arrived in the country. They were trying to sell the paintings and so they got their mark. Three of the suspects – Mihai Alexandru Bitu, Eugen Darie and Radu Dogaru – were arrested by DIICOT prosecutors, and on January 21, 2013, District 5 magistrates ordered their 29-day pre-trial detention.

Outside, Radu's mother tried to clear the tracks.

"On the 20th and 22nd of January 2013, we went in the evening, both (along with Natasha) with my car, from my sister's residence, Mark Marfa, who gave me the suitcase in which the paintings were, with the same" I went to this place with Natasha and buried the suitcase in the backyard of the house next to Natasha's house, knowing that this house was abandoned, "he says in the statement of Olga Dogaru, recorded in the indictment.

Since two of the paintings did not fit very well in a suitcase, Olga Dogaru broke the windows and threw them into the toilet in the courtyard of the abandoned house, then put the artwork in her suitcase and buried it.

Later, around January 24, Olga Dogaru asked Natalia Timofei to take the work back to the cemetery on the street of her house. "That night, Natasha and I packed each painting in a plastic bag, then we put three pictures in a plastic bag, which we closed and four paintings in another bag, resulting in two parcels These two parcels containing the 7 paintings that we put together in another bag We did this because we were planning to bury them and wanted to protect them as best we could from the soil's moisture as it was January. "Olga Dogaru told the developers.

Then something happened that nobody could predict. Olga Dogaru, Radu's mother, fearful that the prosecutors would follow the images moved from one place to another, decided to burn them.

"After my son was arrested in January 2013, I was very frightened, knowing that their actions were serious because the assets they had stolen had a very high value … My fear was sharpened and the fact that I could not get in touch with Radu, because my project had expired, I could not visit him, and my other son, Cosmin, is established in the United Kingdom, and my husband is detained at Tulcea Penitentiary, "said Olga Dogaru to the promoters of DIICOT.

Thus, about four days after the search of the investigators on February 13, Olga Dogaru burned the paintings. "I first set the fire on the stove in my bathroom, then went to the graveyard and unearthed the paintings, returning home with them.I put the package – the bag in which the seven paintings were packed, without breaking it. woods, slippers, rubber boots with which I had been shoes and I waited for them to burn completely, they burned quickly and I saw that the paintings were completely burned.the next day I personally cleaned the stove, the ashes I put in a cart Then I asked Gioni, the man who helped us through the yard, to throw the ashes into the garbage pit, which is a hole. " said Olga Dogaru.

In the Netherlands, Natasha, Radu's girlfriend, was also arrested. "I do not know.I was at the wrong time in the wrong place.Aunt Olga and Mom were stressed and had a suitcase and arms.The suitcase had to be hidden and ALEA had to be burned.Then I asked what to burn.Which mother Olga said: "Do not you understand once? You are very bad, you are very intelligent! "Natasa said in the audience.

According to the report prepared by the National Institute of Forensic Science, Physical and Chemical Expertise Service, registered in the indictment, "in the ash test provided separately were traces with the appearance of paint films, rust films, building material, material carbonized wood, two fragments of wood, aluminum foil, nails, textile fibers, hair, etc.

Thus, in order to determine precisely whether the paintings were burned, the investigators commissioned an expert examination at the Museum of National History of Romania, which revealed that at least three newspapers have become ashes.

"After analyzing the chemical composition of the mentioned materials and highlighting the specific pigments of the paintings on the canvas, it became clear that the ashes come from the burning of at least three works of art (oil paintings on canvas). National.

Radu Dogaru, Eugen Darie, Alexandru Mihai Bitu and Olga Dogaru were tried in custody, Petre Condrat in a state of freedom, and Adrian Procop was brought to justice in absentia, said DIICOT.

  • Sentences of imprisonment two years after the theft of the century

In October 2014, the Bucharest Court of Appeal sentenced Adrian Procop to six years and 10 months in prison and Alexandru Bitu and Olga Dogaru to two years in prison with execution.

Petre Condrat, where the court of first instance decided to pay a fine of 45,000 lei for custody, will no longer have to pay that amount, according to the CAB's decision. The Bucharest Court of Appeal ordered Adrian Procop, Eugen Darie and Radu Dogaru to pay 18.1 million euros for stealing the seven paintings from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam.

Adrian Procop was sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison for setting up an organized crime group and four years and eight months in prison for qualified robbery, both in a relapse. The court ruled Procop would still serve six years and 10 months because he was sentenced to two years in prison with another case.

Alexandru Bitu was sentenced to two years in prison for execution because he joined the criminal group, helped Procop, Radu Dogaru and Eugen Darie in an attempt to take advantage of stolen paintings and negotiated talks about a possible sale of works of art. Art.

Two more years in jail with execution were received by Olga Dogaru, the mother of Radu Dogaru, who was found guilty of favoring the aggressor and of not respecting the weapons and ammunition regime.

The other two defendants in the case – Eugen Darie and Radu Dogaru – were finally convicted after recognizing their actions and having been tried under the simplified procedure. The Bucharest Court of Appeal sentenced Radu Dogaru to six years' imprisonment with execution and Eugen Darie on February 27, 2014 to five years and four months in prison.

And then it seemed that the history of the painting of 18 million euros ended.

  • Letter, like a suicide message. In the footsteps of Picasso

The story was of interest to directors and writers. Mira Feticu, a Romanian writer living in the Netherlands, says that two weeks ago he received a letter containing clues about the place where the painting "Tete D'Arlequin" painted by Pablo Picasso.

Mira Feticu is none other than the best-selling author "Tascha", which targets the theft of famous paintings in 2012,

"I received a letter 14 days ago at my Hague service address." The letter was a white sheet of paper in which eight lines were written in Romanian. Picasso and I did not understand at first It seemed like a suicide letter I forgot in my bag I found it at night and read it and then I downloaded my card I understand that it is one of the photos stolen a few years ago. I called the Rotterdam police officer who took care of the case and he told me he would call me back, but he did not call me in. So I felt obliged to do something.I talked to my colleague who is a writer like me.We arrived in Bucharest, car and we went there, following the clues of the letter, "said Mira Feticu.

She said that the clues to the letter were accurate, and after finding the first tree, she dug the snow and dried leaves and found the painting.

When I found the first tree I wrote on the letter, I found the second and I shivered the snow and the dead layer of leaves, then with a stick, I did not have the patience to go behind the paper, I pulled the plastic to the surface and the paint was wrapped in plastic. If it's authentic or false, it's not my job anymore, "said Mira Feticu.

"It was as if we did something for the people, something that was lost, it was an intense moment, I discovered something wonderful, that I can give back to humanity.It is intense and tiring.You realize, it is not like sitting in a glass of wine.After two o'clock at night, we talk to those who do the research, let's go where we find it, we are restoring scenarios, "said the writer.

  • The painting, 800,000 euros, arrived at the Dutch embassy

According to information received on Sunday by the Romanian police, two people of Dutch nationality showed up on Saturday night in Amabasada of the Netherlands in Bucharest with a painting.

"The internal affairs attache of the Dutch embassy announced the Romanian authorities and at present a team of DICOT and police of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation – IGPR carries out investigations to clarify all the aspects (hearing of people, investigation of the place where the two people said that they had found the painting, forensic expertise.) We also mentioned that the painting was handed over to the Romanian authorities, and that during the day (Monday – n) it will be sent to the Museum of Romanian Art to be an expert, " Romanian.

According to DIICOT, the circumstances are investigated in which a painting signed by Picasso worth 800,000 euros was found in Tulcea County. "The painting, which is part of a batch of seven works stolen in 2012 from a Dutch museum, is under the custody of the Romanian authorities and should be examined," DIICOT said in a statement.

The attaché of Internal Affairs of the Dutch Embassy was the one who announced the Romanian authorities and formed a team of prosecutors and police of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the IGPR that are listening to people and doing searches in the place where the two people said to have found the image.

There is also more forensic expertise in this case.


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