Armed Robbery of "The Scream"
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[click to view Interpol's Top Six Most Wanted Works of Art]

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The Scream                        The Madonna

   On Sunday, August 22, 2004, at 11.10 hrs., masked gunmen stormed into the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, and snatched two paintings by Edvard Munch off of the walls. This brazen crime was committed during operating hours, while horrified visitors watched in shock. Two of the museum's unarmed guards (note: even Norway's police patrol their streets unarmed) were held down on the floor at gunpoint, while the paintings were removed from the walls. The paintings were hung with thin wires, which were snipped by wire cutters with ease.

   None of the horrified visitors were physically injured. One visitor who was suffering from shock was transported to the hospital for medical examination.


"Wanted: Scream"; C.V.Sabba; Oil on Paper; 2005

   The two paintings were identified as "The Scream" and "The Madonna". Edvard Munch painted these pieces in 1893-1894. The works were part of the artist's "Frieze of Life" series, which depicts scenes of anxiety, sickness, death and love.

   A silent alarm sounded at the police headquarters and both plain clothed and uniformed officers made a swift response to the crime scene. The gang of thieves fled prior to the police agents arrival; a wheel man was waiting outside the museum in a black, Audi station wagon.


"Gagged"; C.V.Sabba; Oil and Duct Tape on paper; 2005

   The get-away car was discovered hours later North of the museum. The interior of the vehicle was sprayed with a fire extinguisher by the perps in an attempt to destroy any retrievable evidence. Police attempted to locate any fingerprints or DNA from the vehicle, as well as the pictures broken frames and protective glass which were also discovered.

   The thieves will not be able to sell the paintings, which are valued at $74.5 million to $100 million. The Scream is one of the most widely identifiable images in the art world. Security experts believed a ransom would eventually be demanded. Some believe the thieves motive was possibly to impress their underworld peers with an audacious job and the acquisition of trophy art.

The stolen works were not insured and RFID tags were not employed.


"Untitled"; C.V.Sabba; Oil on Paper; 2005

   Art experts fear for the well being of stolen art works held in "barbarian" hands. Works must be kept in the proper lighting, humidity, and temperature. The Munch works are very fragile, especially the Scream, which is tempera on cardboard.

 

   *Any info regarding this or any art crime that is submitted to our Call Box page will be held in the strictest confidentiality. In a case where a $$$ reward is offered, the informant must establish that he has no involvement in the theft. Our e-mail address is: confidentialinfo@yourbrushwiththelaw.com