July 17, 2013 / 4:40 PM / 6 years ago

Thieves steal 10 paintings in swift raid on Brussels museum

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Thieves stole 10 paintings worth a total of 1.5 million euros ($1.96 million) in a swift nighttime burglary at a Brussels museum, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the thieves broke a window on the ground floor of the Van Buuren museum in the leafy Brussels suburb of Uccle and even though the alarm was triggered the thieves were gone before the police arrived.

“The whole thing only lasted two minutes and three seconds,” said Isabelle Anspach, the curator of the museum.

The most expensive paintings were “The Thinker” by Dutch artist Kees van Dongen and “Shrimps and Shells” by Belgian painter James Ensor, which accounted for 80 percent of the loss, Anspach said.

Belgian prosecutors said two witnesses saw the thieves speeding off in a BMW.

($1 = 0.7637 euros)

Reporting by Clement Rossignol, Writing by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Michael Roddy

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