Art Thief Wants to Sue Museum: It Made Job Too Easy

Radu Dogaru says Dutch museum should share costs of theft due to negligence

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 23, 2013 5:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – We've surely all been there: You walk into a museum and think, "Wow, this place has so little security, it'd be a crime not to steal a painting!" The accused ringleader in a huge daytime heist of Picasso, Matisse, and Monet works from a Dutch museum last year has pleaded guilty to the crime, the AP reports, but says he's considering suing the institution because it just made the theft too easy for him. "I could not imagine that a museum would exhibit such valuable works with so little security," Romanian Radu Dogaru told a court yesterday, per AFP. "The security was practically inexistent [sic]. I entered practically just with a screwdriver."

Dogaru's lawyer says that, if found guilt of negligence, the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam "would have to share the burden of compensation" with his client. The whereabouts of the paintings remain unclear, though the works are feared to have been burned: Dogaru's mother's stove was found to contain the ashes of three oil paintings and nails only used in pre-19th century frames. His mom originally admitted to torching the pieces, but later retracted her statement. Dogaru claims she sold the works to a Ukrainian man in London. "The paintings were certainly not destroyed," he says. "I don't know where they are but I believe they have been sold."

Eugen Darie, center, and Radu Dogaru, right, two suspects charged with stealing paintings from a Dutch museum.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
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