ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – Romanian authorities have arrested three suspects in last year's multimillion euro (dollar) theft of paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others from a Netherlands art gallery, Dutch police said Tuesday, but the stolen works have not been recovered.
The seven pieces were swiped by thieves in October in a late night raid at the Kunsthal gallery in downtown Rotterdam. It was the biggest art theft in more than a decade in the Netherlands. The stolen works have an estimated value of tens of millions of dollars if they were sold at auction, but art experts said that would be impossible following the theft.
"Three people have been arrested, but unfortunately we have not got back the paintings," Rotterdam Police spokeswoman Yvette van den Heerik told The Associated Press.
Van den Heerik said the suspects' involvement in the heist was still being investigated. Dutch police did not immediately have more details of the arrests or the suspects.
Thieves are believed to have broken into the gallery through an emergency exit at the rear of the building and snatched the paintings. The following morning, only white spaces and broken hanging wires were left.
Police were on the scene within five minutes of an alarm being triggered, but the thieves were already gone by the time they arrived.
The stolen paintings came from the private Triton Foundation collection. They were: Pablo Picasso's 1971 "Harlequin Head"; Claude Monet's 1901 "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London"; Henri Matisse's 1919 "Reading Girl in White and Yellow"; Paul Gauguin's 1898 "Girl in Front of Open Window"; Meyer de Haan's "Self-Portrait," around 1890, and Lucian Freud's 2002 work "Woman with Eyes Closed."