The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

The Greek police know the thieves of the painting "Female Head" by Picasso

02 November 2013 / 19:11:18  GRReporter
2851 reads

Three criminals are targeted by the police in connection with the theft committed 21 months ago at the National Art Gallery of a painting by famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, as well as of two other paintings of lower value.

Officials of the National Investigation Service are also involved in the investigation and they seem to have narrowed the scope of suspects. For the first time in a long while investigators are optimistic that the case will be fully clarified, since they believe that the data available are "absolutely accurate."

However, law enforcement officers are applying the tactics of "infinite patience" as they call it, in order to discover the whereabouts of the stolen works of art and reveal the currently unknown identity of the person who commissioned the theft of the paintings.

In practice, these are the two big grey areas" in the investigation of the police and the secret services, since the police and investigation service seem to already know the names of the two physical perpetrators as well as the mediator in the large scale theft.

Let us recall that early in the morning on 9 January 2012, "Female Head," painted by Pablo Picasso in 1939 was stolen from the National Gallery of Greece, as well as "The Windmill" from the early period of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, and a sketch of a religious illustration from the early 17th century by Italian Guglielmo Caccia – il Moncalvo.

Security cameras showed that the thief was masked and initially made sure to distract the guard of the building with false alarm activation. After that, he broke a window and entered the building, where the three pictures were kept. After stealing them, the thief sat on the stairs leading to the basement of the gallery and tried to remove the picture frames with a knife. Data analysis showed investigators that the physical perpetrator of the theft had been given clear instructions to steal precisely that picture by Picasso and no other valuable paintings that were also found in the same room.

The accomplice stood guard

It also became clear that another person who stood guard was also involved in the robbery. It seems that both physical perpetrators of the theft have a criminal past and participated in robberies and thefts. According to sources, they have targeted artwork in other cases, too.

In order to track the two perpetrators, officials of the Greek police and the National Investigation Service analyzed the records of mobile phones and scanned registered mobile phones in the area at the time of the theft in the Gallery. They also had to tap phones. It seems, however, that the authorities had informers as well as cooperation from individuals who gave new direction to the investigation.

According to current data, the role of mediator in the theft of the picture by Picasso was played by a person formerly accused of extortion and many other crimes about whom it was believed in recent years that "he had retired from the crime scene" and no longer bothered investigators.

The key to the investigation

This person is considered the "key" in the investigation, since he is directly related to the physical and moral perpetrators of the theft of the paintings. According to the investigation of the Greek police and the National Investigation Service, his role is even more crucial, since it is possible that he still has the stolen paintings.

In any case, officials of the investigating authorities, although they have tried to get some information from the person concerned in many ways, they have found neither significant conversations with the person who commissioned the theft of the paintings, nor the stolen artwork.

Moreover, as a source of the investigation emphasised, "a fifth person seems to have a minor role in this case with no direct connection with the theft and selling of the pictures and who has bothered law enforcement authorities on several other occasions."

Investigators reckon that any assessment of the fate of the three stolen pictures is inconclusive. According to the first scenario, the pictures are on Greek territory, perhaps on an island for greater safety. However, it is not excluded that the paintings have already been transferred abroad, most likely to Central European countries, such as Switzerland or Austria, where this trade is flourishing.

According to sources, however, "the case has reached a phase in which there could be an impressive development at any time."

Tags: Female Head Pablo Picasso theft the National Art Gallery
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus