A burglar has liked the Modigliani. 'Spiderman' sentenced for a €100-million art theft in Paris
Having received the order for one painting by Ferdinand Leger, 49-year-old Vjeran Tomic, dubbed "Spiderman," could not resist to steal 5 masterpieces by the renowned artists from the Musee d’Art Moderne (Paris Modern Art Museum). Lost canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Ferdinand Leger and Amedeo Modigliani worth an estimated €110-million. The sentence given to the malefactor and two accomplices is unexpected for the public.
Vjeran Tomic, a skilled rock climber from Serbia, who admitted to carrying out the heist on May 20, 2010, was threatened by 20 years in prison. However, he has got 8 years in jail as his final verdict.
Jean-Michel Corvez, a 61-year-old antique dealer who admitted to ordering the theft of the Leger from the Musee d’Art Moderne on behalf of an unnamed client, and Yonathan Birn, a 40-year-old watchmaker who admitted to hiding the paintings for a time, were given sentences of seven and six years respectively.
Vjeran Tomic and his two accomplices were jointly fined almost $110 million over the theft of the paintings. The amount corresponds to the estimated value of the artworks, which are still missing. In appending to their collective fine, the three men were given individual fines of between 150,000 and 200,000 euros each.
"In May 2010,
he and two alleged accomplices got into one of the most-visited galleries in Paris,
by breaking the window. The museum’s alarms had been on repair,
and Tomic has somehow knocked out a security camera. Three guards were on duty that night…" you can find details about the heist that was carried out with "disconcerting ease" in our separate article
Vjeran Tomic is an athletically built man 1.90 metres (six foot 2 inches) tall. He had gained his nickname for clambering walls into posh Parisian apartments and museums to steal valuable gems and works of art.
After detention in May 2011, Tomic told the police that he had initially planned to steal only Ferdinand Leger’s Still Life with Candlestick (1922), not thinking he would also be able to grab another four. Besides the Leger’s painting, the other works stolen were Picasso’s cubist Dove with Green Peas (1911) — alone worth an estimated 25 million euros — as well as Matisse’s Pastoral (1905), Braque’s Olive Tree near Estate (1906), and Modigliani’s Woman with a Fan (1919).
The Musee d’Art Moderne is located in a well-heeled 16th district of Paris, which is home to more than 8,000 works of 20th-century art.
All canvases but the Modigliani hung in the same room of the museum. "As a fan of art", Tomic has been deeply impressed by the painting and decided to grab the Modigliani too.
The paintings stolen from the Modern Art Museum in Paris remain missing so far. An art dealer who has been hiding them for a short time said he dumped the priceless canvases in a garbage can, which authorities do not believe. The question remains open whether the thief has actually grabbed the five paintings instead of the one not by the order but by his own initiative. It would be practically impossible to sell paintings of such level, stolen from the museum.