BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) – A Romanian museum is analyzing ashes found in a stove to see if they are the remains of seven paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others that were stolen last year from the Netherlands, an official said Tuesday.
Prosecutor spokeswoman Gabriela Chiru told the Associated Press that Romania’s National History Museum is examining the ashes found in the stove of Olga Dogaru. She is the mother of Radu Dogaru, one of three Romanian suspects charged with stealing the paintings from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal gallery in a brazen daytime heist.
Dogaru told investigators she was scared for her son after he was arrested in January and buried the art in an abandoned house and then in a cemetery in the village of Caracliu. She said she later dug them up and burned them in February after police began searching the village for the stolen works. Chiru indicated that authorities did not necessarily believe Dogaru’s account. She said it could take months for the results of the tests to be known.
Thieves broke in Oct. 16 through a rear emergency exit at the gallery in the Netherlands, grabbed the paintings off the wall and fled, all within two minutes.