Rembrandt Art Heist Foiled by Police
Intruder chased down by officers after removing treasures from Dulwich Picture Gallery Rembrandts' Light at Dulwich Picture Gallery
An attempted heist of two Rembrandt paintings from Dulwich Picture Gallery was last night foiled in dramatic fashion by police after they pursued a would-be thief through the grounds of the gallery to recover the works of the 17th-century Dutch master.
Intruders broke into the south London gallery late on Wednesday night, targeting the Rembrandt’s Light exhibition featuring works by one of the world’s greatest artists. After an alarm had gone off, officers were called to the gallery at 11.30pm, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Finding signs of forced entry and two pictures missing, the officers searched the area around the gallery, where they encountered an intruder and gave chase. “The intruder then turned and used a canister to spray the officer in the face with an unknown substance. As a result of this assault, the suspect was able to get away,” the Metropolitan Police said in the statement, adding that the officer who was sprayed did not suffer serious injuries.
The paintings were then located and recovered by the police and the gallery’s security staff. “Neither painting had left the gallery grounds and both remain in the gallery’s care,” the statement said. Jason Barber, a Metropolitan Police detective inspector, said: “This was an audacious attempted burglary and was clearly planned in advance. Two paintings in the exhibition were targeted and it was only down to the prompt response of gallery security staff and the courage and swift intervention of officers that these two works of art were not stolen. Thankfully both the paintings were quickly recovered and secured.”
“Our enquiries now centre on finding whoever was responsible for this crime and I would ask anyone with information to call police.” The gallery said the intrusion had been detected by its security systems, including a new “state of the art” alarm system installed specifically for the Rembrandt’s Light exhibition and certified by Arts Council England. “On-site security staff responded immediately, as did the Metropolitan Police who arrived within minutes,” the gallery said.
Asked whether the paintings had sustained any damage as a result of the botched raid, the gallery said its senior curatorial staff were working with advisers to assess the impact on the two works. The gallery has closed its doors until further notice while the police conduct an investigation. It said it would compensate those who had paid for tickets to the show, which opened on October 4 and was due to end on February 2. It declined to say which of the 35 pictures in the show had been removed but many had been on loan, including from the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Highlights included “Philemon and Baucis”, which was appearing in the UK for the first time; “Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb”; and three of Rembrandt’s best-known paintings of women: “A Woman Bathing in a Stream”, “A Woman in Bed” and the gallery’s own Rembrandt, “Girl at a Window”. Rembrandt’s prominence has been boosted over the past year as galleries around the world have marked the 350th anniversary of his death in 1669.
World's most stolen painting
Man, 35, arrested after thieves steal £4.8million solid gold toilet from Blenheim Palace days after it’s unveiled
Thames Valley Police today confirmed the man from London was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
The loo has never been found after the September raid - with fears it could be melted down by thieves.
Police previously revealed the thieves had used at least two cars to snatch the toilet.
It was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and proved popular when it went on display at the Guggenheim museum in New York in 2016.
The masterpiece was once offered to President Donald Trump who turned it down.
The Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother and founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation Edward Spencer-Churchill previously told the Times: "Despite being born with a silver spoon in my mouth I have never had a s*** on a golden toilet, so I look forward to it."
He also explained it "wouldn't be the easiest thing to nick", adding: "Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate.
"So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it."
COPS INVESTIGATECops said: "A 35-year-old man from London was arrested this morning on suspicion of handling stolen goods and remains in police custody.
"The arrest is in connection with an incident on September 14 this year, when a golden toilet was stolen from Blenheim Palace."
Previously, a 66-year-old man from Evesham, Worcs., was arrested on suspicion of burglary.
A 35-year-old man from Cheltenham, Gloucs., was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle.
A 35-year-old man, a 34-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman, all from Oxford, were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit a burglary other than a dwelling.