Art thief jailed for stealing Poland's only Monet

1st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

An unemployed construction worker who stole Poland's only painting by the French Impressionist Claude Monet was sentenced Thursday to three years behind bars.

The 41-year-old man pleaded guilty to the charges, saying he stole the 1882 Monet canvas titled "Plage de Pourville" from a museum in Poznan, eastern Poland, in 2000 after spending hours admiring it.

"Robert Z. has been sentenced to three years in jail," Jarema Sawinski, spokesman for a court in Poznan, told AFP.

The construction worker admitted to cutting the Monet measuring 60 by 73 centimetres (23 by 28 inches) out of its frame and replacing it with a fake, reports said.

He stashed the painting, valued at a million dollars, in a wardrobe at his parents' house, without them ever knowing. It was recovered this January thanks to his finger-print traces.

He told the court he was sorry for the theft.

Prior to issuing its verdict, the court had ordered that Robert Z. be put under psychiatric observation.

The Poznan court ordered him to pay 28,000 zloty (6,700 euro, 8,295 dollars) in damages to the museum and to cover legal expenses, Sawinski said.

© 2010 AFP

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