Off camera: Broken CCTV points to Pretoria art Robbery being an inside job

2012-11-13 00:00

THE Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) at the Pretoria art museum was not working when three robbers walked out with six paintings valued at over R17,3 million, raising the possibility of an inside job.

Pieter de Necker, spokesperson for the mayor of Tshwane, yesterday told a news conference the CCTV stopped working on Thursday.

The robbers, who had each paid the R10 entry fee before pointing a gun at a staff member’s head, came with a list of paintings to steal. They wanted Irma Stern’s Fishing Boats; Gerard Sekoto’s Street Scene; Maggie Laubser’s Cat and Petunias; JH Pierneef’s Eland and Bird sketch and Hugo Naudé’s Hottentot Chief.

The robbers could not fit the sixth and most valuable painting, Irma Stern’s Two Malay Musicians, valued at about R12 million, into their getaway vehicle and ditched it on the sidewalk.

De Necker said the CCTV system was working again yesterday. He did not want to comment on the possibile impact that the broken CCTV might have on their insurance cover.

On the possibility that the robbery was an inside job, De Necker said all possibilities were being investigated.

He said the museum would now put in safe keeping their most valuable works, which are exhibited in the south wing, until security at the museum improved. Johan Welmans, DA spokesperson for art and culture in Tshwane, yesterday said the party had repeatedly warned the council about the poor security at the museum.

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