Norway: 2 arrested in connection with 2009 Munch art heist

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2016 10:17 AM
Norway: 2 arrested in connection with 2009 Munch art heist

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Two men have been arrested and jailed for four weeks in connection with the 2009 theft of a valuable work by Edvard Munch from an Oslo art dealer, Norwegian police said Wednesday.

Police spokeswoman Unni Groendal said the men are suspected of handling stolen goods, not carrying out the theft itself. They were arrested Monday and Tuesday in Oslo, and jailed after a hearing Wednesday. The men were not identified but Norwegian media said they were well-known to police and have criminal records.

The hand-colored Munch lithography "Historien," or "History," was recovered Monday, Groendal said, declining to elaborate.

Printed in 1914, the lithograph was stolen on Nov. 12, 2009, from the Nyborgs Kunst art gallery in Oslo after one of its windows was smashed with a rock. Gallery owner Pascal Nyborg told the Norwegian news agency NTB the lithograph is estimated to be worth about 2 million kroner at the time.

The Norwegian artist's work has been a popular target for thieves.

The most notorious theft was in 2004 when gunmen stole the masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" in a brazen midday raid on Oslo's Munch Museum.

Another version of "The Scream" — Munch painted several — was taken from Norway's National Gallery in 1994 by two thieves who left behind a postcard that read "Thanks for the poor security." One of the thieves had previously served a four-year sentence for the theft of Munch's "The Vampire" in 1988.

All of the artworks have been recovered and the lax museum security upgraded.