Monday, January 21, 2008

More Theft Fallout

Looks like the Sao Paulo Museum of Art might be temporarily closed in the wake of last month's high-profile robbery:

"[S]tate authorities have filed a court request calling for the museum to be shut down because it has been operating over the past 40 years without formal permission from the city, police and fire services. 'There is an imminent risk to the life and health of museum visitors, as well as to the priceless historic and cultural heritage that the institution's collection represents,' a state official in charge of health and safety ... said.

"...Earlier this month police recovered Portrait of Suzanne Bloch by Pablo Picasso and The Coffee Worker by Brazil's Candido Portinari, which were stolen in a brazen robbery just before Christmas. Both works are back on display, but the robbery revealed the lack of security at the museum as well as the lack of insurance. An inspection of the building by city officials, a consequence of the robbery, showed the fire system was not operating, extinguishers were missing and exits were not clearly marked.

"... [O]n Dec. 20, a gang of thieves, using only a car jack and a crowbar, broke into the building and stole the two paintings, reportedly worth more than $50 million US in total. The building has no alarm and was relying on unarmed guards who patrol inside 24 hours a day."