Four paintings from South Africa art heist found in cemetery

By Daniel S Levine,

Four of the paintings stolen by armed robbers at a museum in Pretoria, South Africa have been found at a private cemetery 700 miles away from the museum.

As we previously reported, the heist took place on Sunday at the Pretoria Art Museum. The trio of thieves took an estimated $2 million worth of art. They had posed as a group of students and asked a tour guide to show specific works, which they then stole after tying up the guide and others at the museum.

According to The Associated Press, the paintings were discovered after a canine officer received a tip that lead police to Port Elizabeth, a city 700 miles from Pretoria. The South African Police Service told the AP that the pieces were discovered under a bench by a memorial wall.

A landscape by South African artist Gerard Sekoto is still missing. It is worth around $800,000.

Brig. Marinda Mills, a spokeswoman for the South African police, said that the paintings’ authenticity still needs to be checked out, but “From a layman's perspective, it appears to be the missing art.”

Police have yet to make any arrests. They are investigating the area to see if the remaining piece of art is close by.

IOL News reports that the museum will stay closed until Nov. 20.

“The art museum has taken precautionary steps by removing other valuable pieces until the police have completed their investigation,” Tshwane mayoral spokesperson Pieter de Necker told the site. “The city will tighten security at the museum.”

The thieves initially made off with six paintings, but had to leave a work by Irma Stern behind because it could not fit in their van.

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