Reporting from Paris — A man suspected of hiding precious artwork stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art last year claims that in a panic, he threw the paintings into the garbage.
Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Matisse and Leger paintings stolen in May 2010, and worth about $134 million, may have been dumped in a garbage bin on a Paris street and destroyed with the rest of that day's trash, according to testimony by one of three suspects connected to the theft. The suspect, a 34-year-old watch repairman, was identified only as Jonathan B. by the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche. The paper broke the detailed story on the investigation Sunday.
The other suspects include a 56-year-old antique shop owner, who is accused of commissioning the break-in, and a 43-year-old Serb with the nickname "Spiderman," for allegedly scaling the walls of upscale Paris apartment buildings in search of pricey artwork and other valuables.
The Serb is suspected of making off with the five paintings in the early morning of May 20, 2010. According to the Journal report, he said after being detained by police that once inside the museum he intended to take only one painting, by Fernand Leger, "Still Life With Candlestick." But the museum's alarm didn't sound when the art was removed from the wall, so he wandered around the national museum for more than an hour, helping himself to four more masterpieces, before driving away in a car parked nearby. Despite several security cameras, three night watchmen didn't notice the masked intruder.