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Paris museum reels as five masterpieces stolen

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Five paintings worth an estimated 500 million euros (£431 million) have been stolen from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, according to police sources.

The paintings, by Picasso, Matisse and other renowned artists, were reported missing on Thursday morning having been taken the previous evening, officials said.

The museum, which sits across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, has been cordoned off as the theft is investigated.

The five missing works of art are believed to be Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso (1912), La pastorale by Henri Matisse (1906), L'olivier pres de l'Estaque by Georges Braque (1906), La femme a l'eventail by Amedeo Modigliani and Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger (1922).

The burglary was discovered early on Thursday morning, with a window allegedly broken and a gate padlock smashed while some outlets report that CCTV footage of the museum overnight shows a person climbing through a window.

The Associated Press news agency reports that museum staff have said questions regarding the theft will only be answered by the office of the Paris mayor, Bertrand Delanoe.
© Adfero Ltd
21 May 2010 11:01 GMT

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