Oslo Court Sentences 3 for Theft of Munch Paintings

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An Oslo appeals court sentenced three men to prison Monday in the 2004 theft of the Edvard Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna."

The paintings were recovered by police on Aug. 31, just over two years after they were stolen by masked gunmen in a brazen daylight heist at Oslo's Munch Museum. Both were damaged and are undergoing repairs.

In late March, the Borgarting appeals court in Oslo found three men guilty of helping the armed robbers and acquitted three others. Both the prosecution and the defense had appealed the Oslo district court convictions and acquittals of six men in May 2006.

Petter Tharaldsen, 35, was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison for his role in the Munch theft and for an unrelated robbery. Bjoern Hoen, 39, was sentenced to nine years on the same grand theft charge in the Munch robbery. Stian Skjold, 31, was sentenced to five and a half years on the same charge, after the appeals court reversed his acquittal in the Oslo district court last year.

The appeals jury also acquitted a suspect last month who had been sentenced to four years in prison by the lower court.

Munch's emotionally charged painting style became a major influence in the birth of the 20th-century expressionist movement. Munch died in 1944 at the age of 80.