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INTERPOL, the international police agency, issued a global alert on May 22 with images of five paintings which were stolen from the Modern Art Museum in Paris last Thursday.
The move inidcates that French authorities suspect the paintings may have left the country, possibly through an organized crime network.
The 188 INTERPOL member countries, as well as cultural and institutional bodies, were provided with information to help aid in the investigation.
A burglar entered the museum undetected, evading a security system and three armed guards on duty overnight on May 20.
“These extraordinary paintings by these great masters are so recognizable that they will be difficult to sell in any market," noted Jean-Michel Louboutin, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services.
INTERPOL also maintains a publicly accessible online database of missing artworks which allows legitimate buyers of paintings to determine whether the transaction would be legal.
The five stolen paintings, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, are Pigeon with Green Peas by Pablo Picasso (1911), Pastoral by Henri Matisse (1906), Olive Tree near l'Estaque by Georges Braque (1906), Woman with Fan by Amedeo Modigliani (1919) and Still Life with Candlestick by Fernand Leger (1922).