The alarm system at the Paris museum where thieves stole paintings worth more than a hundred million euros had been partially out of order for nearly two months, according to the city’s mayor.
The works by Picasso and four other renowned artists were taken overnight on Wednesday.
Questions are being asked as to the robbers’ motives. The paintings have been described as too famous to be displayed or sold.
Some experts are suggesting that they were probably seized by criminals seeking to extort money rather than delivering to order for private collectors.
“The paintings are insured of course by the museum for a certain price, and then you get in touch with the insurance and you say ‘listen, if you want to see your paintings back, you just have to give me half of the price and we’ll make a deal’”, said art critic Jean-Marie Baron.
Picasso’s “Dove with Green Peas” has been valued at 22 million euros. The thieves also made off with works by Matisse, Modigliani, Braque and Leger.
Police are investigating why the three security guards on duty overnight at the Museum of Modern Art noticed nothing. The Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe has ordered an inquiry to establish whether technical or human deficiencies were a contributing factor.
Last year some drawings by Picasso were stolen from another Paris museum.