The heist

cezanne.jpgArmed robbers have made away with what could be the biggest heist in Swiss history: SFr180 million worth of paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. Zurich police said four paintings were stolen on Sunday from the Bührle Collection, one of Europe’s finest private museums for Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. It is the biggest theft ever committed in Switzerland – overtaking SFr75 million stolen from a Zurich’s main post office a few years ago – and chances are in Europe as well.
Update: Zurich police announced on Tuesday they had recovered two of the paintings, the van Gogh and the Monet, in an abandoned car found just 500 metres from the Bührle museum. Apparently, the thieves found them too cumbersome to run off with.

It follows hot on the heels of the theft of two Picassos less than a week ago from a culture centre in nearby Pfäffikon, a town that is home to some of the country’s wealthiest people. Why the paintings were stolen in both cases remains a mystery, although there has been plenty of speculation it might have been for a private collector – or how about for ransom?

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