37 Stolen Paintings Recovered from 1971 Art Heist in Rome

Posted on April 2, 2012


One night in 1971, thieves snuck into an upper class home of a construction magnate in Rome and walked out with 42 rare paintings, including works by Van Dyck and Poussin. The police quickly lost any trail linking the crime to the culprits.

Forty years later, the Italian police have recovered 11 of the stolen paintings from a home in the same district that they were stolen from. One officer discovered four of the paintings in an auction catalogue when he cross-checked them with a database of stolen paintings. The son and daughter of the original owner of the paintings were brought in to identify the paintings and, according to Colonel Raffaele Mancino, “When they saw them, they almost fainted.” These four paintings have an estimated value of $10 million.

The woman who listed the paintings for auction and her husband bought the paintings twenty years ago.She neglected to tell the police about her second home outside of Rome, but police found it anyway and investigated. There, they found another 26 of the original 42 stolen paintings. The search for the thieves is still underway.

Read the full article Stolen paintings recovered in Rome 40 years after art heist at the Guardian.

Thanks to Kristina Bauer for her assistance with this post.