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The Warsaw Voice » Other » November 26, 2008
On the town
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Spectacular Art Heist
November 26, 2008   
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In one of the most spectacular art thefts in Poland in years, thieves got away with two works worth an estimated zl.500,000 overnight Nov. 18-19 from a gallery on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street in Warsaw.

The works are by Polish painters Jacek Malczewski and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, known as Witkacy. The Malczewski painting alone is worth over zl.400,000. Police believe this might have been a theft carried out to order. The security company which monitors the gallery arrived on the scene within five minutes but the thieves had vanished.

The stolen pictures are A Portrait of a Man With a Landscape Backdrop by Malczewski and A Portrait of a Woman by Witkacy.

Adam Chełstowski, the director of the Desa Unicum chain of galleries, said the paintings were hanging close to the gallery entrance, which is why the burglars were able to quickly take the paintings and flee. "Our entire gallery is insured," said Chełstowski, adding the paintings were secured in several different ways. Some of the security devices may help find the stolen works of art.

Police are asking anyone who has information about the stolen paintings to call immediately on 112 or 997. Callers who do not speak Polish can ask for an official who speaks English.

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