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SHORT TAKES : Stolen Medieval Art Recovered

November 29, 1990| From Times Wire Services

ROME — Police recovered two stolen medieval paintings in a shack outside Rome but were forced to abandon a stakeout for the thieves because of concern that bad weather might damage the works, authorities said today.

The 14th-Century works painted on wood with a gold background were taken Oct. 24 from the cathedral of Nepi, a medieval hill town of Etruscan origin about 25 miles north of Rome. The paintings, by unknown artists, depicted Sts. Tolomeo and Romano.

The thieves also stole four 14th-Century marble sculptures representing the four Gospel authors and several gold and silver chalices, said police from the unit that tracks down stolen art. Police estimated the stolen works are worth $2.8 million.

An investigation of suspected fences in Italy's flourishing underground market in stolen art led to the tip that the stolen works had been taken to an abandoned shack on the outskirts of Rome, police said.

Police spotted the works, wrapped in rags, inside and staked out the shack for several days in hopes of making arrests. But concern that cool, rainy weather in the unheated shack might be damaging the works led police to end the stakeout and recover the works, the police said.

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