August 31, 2006. Norwegian police recover paintings ‘The Scream’ and ‘Madonna’ both by Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch; the works had been stolen two years earlier. According to police, the paintings were in a better condition than expected. The heist took place in August 2004 when two masked men stormed into the Munch Museum in Oslo, ripping the paintings off the wall. One of the robbers threatened museum staff with a gun before they escaped in a car parked nearby. Three men were convicted in connection to the crime in May 2006, charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and handling stolen goods. A five-day exhibition was held after the stolen paintings were rescued, showing the extent of the damage: ‘The Scream’ appeared unscathed apart from a corner being folded, while ‘Madonna’ was found with a hole in the canvas.
Also on August 31: Mary Ann Nichols, the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims, is found dead (1888); Malaysia gains its independence from the United Kingdom (1957); Trinidad and Tobago achieves independence (1962); Diana, Princess of Wales dies in a car accident with her companion Dodi Al-Fayed (1997).
Born on August 29: Gaius Caligula (12), Van Morrison (1945), Richard Gere (1949), Queen Rania of Jordan (1970).