A Romanian museum is analyzing ashes found in a stove to see if they are the remains of seven paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, and others that were stolen last year from the Netherlands, an official said yesterday. Romania's National History Museum is examining the ashes found at the home of Olga Dogaru; she's the mother of Radu Dogaru, one of three Romanian suspects charged with stealing the paintings from Rotterdam's Kunsthal gallery in a brazen daytime heist.
Dogaru told investigators she was scared for her son after he was arrested in January and buried the art in an abandoned house and then in a cemetery in the village of Caracliu. She said she later dug them up and burned them in February after police began searching the village for the stolen works. But a rep for the prosecutor indicated that authorities did not necessarily believe Dogaru's account; it could take months for the results of the tests to be known. The art theft was the biggest 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. Click for the list of stolen paintings, and more on the heist.