Suspect Says He Tossed Stolen Modern Masterpieces in Trash

A 1906 pastoral scene by Matisse stolen from the Modern Art Museum in Paris on May 20, 2010.
A 1906 pastoral scene by Matisse stolen from the Modern Art Museum in Paris on May 20, 2010.
  • Woman with a Fan by Amadeo Modigliani

    Woman with a Fan by Amadeo Modigliani

Paintings by Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Matisse and Leger stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art in May 2010, and valued at about $134 million, may have been hastily dropped in a garbage bin and destroyed with the rest of that day's trash, according to testimony from one of three suspects in the theft, a 34-year-old watch repairman, reported the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche about the ongoing investigation.

Other suspects include a Serb called "Spiderman" who is accused of lifting the five paintings from the walls of the museum and then loading them in his car nearby. An alarm system failed and three night guards on duty didn't notice the theft, according to the museum.

The third suspect is an antique shop owner, who says he didn't order the theft, but he did give the paintings to the watch repairman who supposedly threw them away.

Among the missing artworks is Fernand Leger's "Still Life With Candlestick," Picasso's "Dove With Green Peas," Matisse's "Pastoral," Braque's "The Olive Tree Near Estaque," and Modigliani's "Woman With a Fan."

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