The paintings are together worth about 100 million euros ($123 million,) Christophe Girard, the Paris city official responsible for culture said as he visited the scene of the crime today. He dismissed earlier reports putting the value as high as 500 million euros. The heist was “well organized,” Girard said.
The paintings were discovered missing between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. this morning, said a detective at the crime scene who declined to be identified by name. The other works stolen were by Georges Braque, Fernand Leger and Amedeo Modigliani. They were all part of the museum’s permanent collection, Girard said.
Three people were in the museum at the time of the theft, Girard said. Museum officials found a broken window and sawn- off padlock. Surveillance cameras showed someone entering the museum by a window, French news agency AFP said.
“I am saddened and shocked by this theft, which is an intolerable assault on Paris’s universal cultural heritage,” Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said in statement posted on the city’s website. He pledged the city administration’s support for the police and museum in attempts to recover the paintings.
Delanoe said the museum was closed to allow the police investigation to proceed unhindered.