PARIS – A Paris court filed preliminary charges Thursday against five young people suspected of having vandalized a renowned work by painter Claude Monet, judicial officials said.
"Le Pont d'Argenteuil" was damaged Sunday when intruders, apparently drunk, broke into Paris' Orsay Museum and punched a 4-inch tear into the canvas.
The five suspects — four men and one woman, all either 18 or 19 years old — were detained on Tuesday, judicial officials said.
Judicial officials said one of the suspects acknowledged having punched the painting and faces the preliminarily charge of damaging an object of public usefulness. They said all five face preliminary charges of destruction for having forced open a door to the museum.
The intruders wandered around the museum's ground floor, where the Monet painting was hanging, until an alarm sounded. Before fleeing, one of them punched the painting, officials said.
The break-in occurred during Paris' annual all-night festival, which brings thousands of people into the streets for concerts and exhibits.
Monet led the 19th century Impressionist movement, experimenting notably with light and color in works now deemed priceless.
"Le Pont d'Argenteuil" shows a view of the Seine at a rural bend, featuring a bridge and boats.
Speaking on Sunday, French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said the painting could be restored but deplored the damage.