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Dutch police arrest Romanian woman over art heist

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Dutch police on Monday arrested a young Romanian woman in Rotterdam on suspicion of helping get a haul of masterpieces stolen from the city's Kunsthal museum out of the country, police said on Monday.

"Detectives investigating the art heist at the Kunsthal on Monday afternoon arrested a 19-year-old Romanian woman who is suspected of being involved in the handling of the seven stolen paintings," Rotterdam police said in a statement.

The woman is the girlfriend of one of three suspects being held in Romania for alleged involvement in October's swiftly-executed theft of works by Picasso, Monet and Gauguin, among others.

The heist gripped the Netherlands and the art world as police apparently struggled to piece the crime together, despite putting 25 officers on the case.

Experts put the paintings' value at between 100 and 200 million euros.

Police said it appeared the paintings had been taken to a home in Rotterdam immediately after being stolen.

"There the frames were apparently removed from the paintings and later taken to Romania," police said.

The 19-year-old was one of several people living in the house at the time.

Dutch police last year released grainy security camera footage of the theft, which took place around 3:00 am.

The footage showed two apparently young males entering and leaving the museum in central Rotterdam within barely 90 seconds.

The works stolen include Picasso's "Tete d'Arlequin", Monet's "Waterloo Bridge" and Lucian Freud's "Woman with Eyes Closed".

cjo-jhe/rm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130304/dutch-police-arrest-romanian-woman-over-art-heist