A man admiring a painting holds the catalogue of the Avant-gardes exhibit as the Kunsthal museum reopened its doors to the public Wednesday following an art heist in Rotterdam, Netherlands.(Photo: Peter Dejong, AP)
AMSTERDAM -- In Hollywood movies, heists usually feature
criminals who plan meticulously and use high-tech equipment to avoid
detection. But the thieves who snatched seven paintings by Picasso,
Matisse and Monet worth millions from a gallery in Rotterdam appear to
have taken a less glamorous approach, relying mostly on speed and brute
In other words, the theft from the Kunsthal exhibition on avant-garde art was more "smash and grab" than Ocean's 11.
police said Wednesday they had no suspects in the case, the largest art
heist in the country for more than a decade, though an appeal to
witnesses had produced more than a dozen tips for investigators to
As questions arose about security at the museum, its
director, Emily Ansenk, rejected criticism of the facility's safeguards.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday evening, she defended Kunsthal's
security as "state of the art" and noted that insurance companies had
agreed to insure it.
And yet the thieves got away. The paintings they took are estimated to be worth roughly $100 million if sold at auction.
said the structure and location of the museum, which was designed by
renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, may have attracted criminals.
as a museum-goer, it's fantastic," museum security expert Ton Cremers
said. "Speaking as a security expert, it's a total nightmare."