MOSCOW (Reuters) - Thieves stole a collection of rare paintings worth millions of dollars that an elderly Russian had been storing unguarded in his empty apartment, Russian newspapers reported on Tuesday.
The 13 paintings stolen from retired judge Kamo Manukyan included works by Frenchman Georges-Pierre Seurat, the founder of neo-impressionism, Russian seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky, and Russian expressionist Alexej Jawlenski.
"This is a real nightmare. This is a real fortune stolen, you just don't realise how much all this may cost. Millions," Sofya Chernyak, secretary of the Moscow Fine Arts Collectors' Club, told the Izvestia daily.
"All of these painters are widely known ... A Seurat painting alone costs more than $500,000 (247,000 pounds)."
Manukyan returned home from a trip abroad to find the paintings gone, the newspaper said. An art collector and dealer, Manukyan supplies artworks to clients including Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, said Izvestia.
Police said they could not understand why the art collector did not have an alarm in his Moscow apartment.
"It only costs around 200 roubles (3.84 pounds) a month," one policeman told Izvestia. "I don't think this would have made a big hole in his pocket."