Fake cops steal valuable Berni paintings in Argentina
Sun, Jul 27, 2008

BUENOS AIRES - THIEVES disguised as cops stopped a truck and made off with 15 paintings of Argentina's late Antonio Berni 'of great national value,' Culture Secretary Jose Nun said on Saturday.

The paintings, which were being transported from a suburb to the Bellas Artes National Museum, 'have no commercial value since they can't be sold legally in the country,' Mr Nun said.

But they are 'of great national value and represent an enormous loss to Argentine culture,' he added.

'The robbers, disguised as cops, forced the truck to make a detour, transferred the cargo to another truck and threatened our employees with weapons,' said Mr Jorge Mendez, who runs the transportation company that owns the truck.

The artist's son Juan Antonio Berni described the stolen paintings as 'the core work' of his father, who died in 1981.

According to auction house reports, Berni's paintings have sold for in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. -- AFP


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