Thieves make off with Picasso in art truck heist

Thu Dec 2, 2010 1:50pm EST
 
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MADRID (Reuters Life!) - Spanish thieves stole a truck containing 28 works of art worth millions last week including a sketch by Pablo Picasso, Madrid police reported on Thursday.

The art works -- worth 2.7 million euros ($3.56 million) -- had come from an exhibition recently held in Germany and belonged to six galleries based in Madrid, Barcelona and the German city of Cologne, police said in a release.

The truck was parked in an industrial estate to the south of Madrid, and while the thieves had to break into the building to get to it last Saturday, their getaway was made easier on the other side as the keys had been left in the vehicle.

The truck was later found not far from the scene Tuesday and was taken for inspection by the police.

According to newspaper El Mundo the works included at least 11 by Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida, as well as some by Colombian Fernando Botero, Antonio Saura, Antoni Tapies, and a sketch by Picasso.

Spanish media reported that the museums which own the pieces reported the theft over the last few days, and that they suspected unscrupulous art dealers were behind the thefts.

(Reporting by Blanca Rodriguez, writing Nigel Davies, editing by Paul Casciato)