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If the recent theft of over $124 million worth of art from the Musee d’Art Modern (Museum of Modern Art) in Paris was part of a movie plot, chances are it wouldn’t have had any exciting action scenes. Art thieves managed to steal 5 priceless paintings while 3 security guards were on duty, completely oblivious to the art heist taking place. Despite the art thieves breaking a back window to enter the museum, the building’s alarm systems were not triggered.
In fact, the theft was not discovered until the museum opened the following day and someone noticed the five empty frames.
Usually when a painting is stolen, time is of the essence, so art thieves carefully slice the paintings out of the frame (which damages the priceless work of art). In this case, the thieves had enough time to actually dismantle the frames and manually remove the paintings. Police are now examining the empty frames for forensic evidence.
The five stolen paintings were modern art masterpieces by renowned artists Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse (painting shown above), Amedeo Modigliani, Fernand Leger and Georges Braque.
Although the criminals knew what they were doing, they were aided by the fact that the museum’s alarm system had been broken for nearly two months – despite the museum’s security system having been upgraded at the cost of $19 million just four years earlier.
Luckily, stolen art is usually recovered, although it may take several years.