Dutch police are reporting that seven paintings, including works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Henri Matisse, were stolen today in a 3 a.m. burglary at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam. The details are still sketchy, but the Associated Press says the masterworks are potentially worth hundreds-of-millions of Euros.
To the museum, anyway. For the crooks themselves, the loot might well turn out to be worthless. According to Robert Wittman, founder of the FBI's art crime team and author of the memoir Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures, it's nearly impossible for thieves to sell famous pieces of art, even on the black market. I talked to Wittman today about why yanking a Picasso is such a bad business plan, his investigations into art capers around the world, and why cheap paintings might be more valuable for a crook.
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