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Mystery Solved

kjb/tt/afp/apMarch 8, 2009

Dutch authorities say police have recovered eight valuable paintings by masters like Pissarro and Renoir 22 years after they were stolen from a Maastricht gallery.

A paint brush dipped in a tin of red paint
If they're jailed, the art thieves will finally learn what it means to watch paint dryImage: Illuscope

Prosecutors in the Netherlands said on Saturday, March 7, that three people had been arrested in connection with the art theft -- a 45-year-old German man living in Dubai, his 62-year-old mother and another 66-year-old man.

The works of art had been stolen in 1987 from the Noortman gallery in Maastricht, near the Belgian border.

"Some of the art works had been folded and were seriously damaged," read a statement from the prosecuting authority.

Authorities were tipped off when the suspects, whose identities have not been released, attempted to sell the paintings to the insurance company which paid out 2.3 million euros ($2.9 million) after the theft.

In addition to masterpieces by Pierre-August Renoir and Camille Pissarro, works by 17th-century painters David Teniers, Willem van de Velde and Jan Brueghel de Jonge, as well as 19th-century artists Eva Gnozales and Paul Desire Trouillebert were among the lot.

The present-day value of the paintings had not yet been determined.