Stolen art found in PE cemetery - report

2012-11-13 15:43

Cape Town - Some of the pieces of art stolen from the Pretoria Art Museum during a brazen robbery were found in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, reports said.

According to Algoa FM, police recovered four of the stolen items in a cemetery in the city.

"Our dog unit of Port Elizabeth received information from an informer which led them to the Dutch Reformed Church in Sundridge Park.

"At the back of the property they found four paintings and it seems to be similar to the paintings that were stolen in the Gauteng area," police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg was quoted as saying.

The whereabouts of the fifth stolen painting is unknown.

The pieces were stolen from the museum's permanent collection on Sunday when thieves posing as art students staged a daring arm robbery.

"Three men, under the pretence of being students and their art lecturer, asked to view specific pieces. After they were shown the paintings, they then tied up the museum official at gunpoint and took off with six paintings," mayoral spokesperson Pieter de Necker said on Monday.

"They left one painting [by] Irma Stern behind. Presumably because it was too big to fit into their [getaway] car."

According to museum staff, the thieves arrived with a "shopping list" of what they wanted, and demanded to be given specific paintings, Sapa reported.

After holding staff member Dawood Khan at gunpoint, they took out their list, and demanded to know where the paintings were.

De Necker hinted that growing international demand for South African artwork might have been the reason for the robbery.

He said he and others believe the thieves were commissioned to go after those specific pieces because of their behaviour at the museum, according to AP.

"We're very, very surprised. It is very uncommon," he said.

"We have realised also that over the last few years ... the overseas market has grown into wanting South African art."

The robbers favoured oil paintings in their theft, grabbing a 1931 painting by artist Irma Stern of brightly coloured fishing boats waiting against a pier (Fishing Boats), a gouache drawing of an eland and bird (Eland And Bird - 1961) by landscape artist JH Pierneef, a pastel-toned street scene (Street Scene) by Gerard Sekoto, a thick-stroked oil painting of a chief (Hottentot Chief) by Hugo Naude and a 1936 picture of a cat near a vase full of petunias (Cat And Petunias) by Maggie Laubser.

The museum closed provisionally, and will re-open on 20 November.

It took precautionary steps by removing other valuable pieces and security has been tightened.

  • mario.dippenaar - 2012-11-13 15:46

    I swear I didn't do it! I was framed!

      gray.braatvedt - 2012-11-13 15:54

      Artfully said but that's a dead giveaway

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-11-13 16:08

      And who says SA humour is dead? This is a top exhibition of it by Derpy and Gray

      moriri.mosweu - 2012-11-13 16:26

      No doubt TIK is in the picture...

      Desilusionada - 2012-11-13 16:30

      A pigment of your imagination....

      mario.dippenaar - 2012-11-13 16:43

      Hue guys art making terrible puns.

      Desilusionada - 2012-11-13 16:50

      We cannot just brush over it......

  • steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-11-13 15:49

    So what else is news? Affirmative shopping has become a way of life in this cANCer ridden country.

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-11-13 16:12

      I'm rather suspicious of people that choose brown sugar over white one at my local supermarket.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-11-13 15:49

    Now this is just getting weird???? From Pretoria to PE and nogal in a cemetery. Wtf.

      sheamus.drager - 2012-11-13 16:04

      Look at the painting above, no wonder it got dumped in a cemetary.

      edwin.morena.3 - 2012-11-13 16:17

      Sum ppl have gone insane/mad. Art @ a cemetery!!!

      hendrik.schutte.3152 - 2012-11-13 21:08

      Well ja-nee. Not very clever reporting or headline. I would like to suggest there could be some distinction made between a "wall of rememberance" on Church grounds and an actual cemetry? Just wondering.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-11-13 15:53

    De debil made me do it!

  • bbooyse - 2012-11-13 15:53

    They reached a dead end in the investigation...

  • tracey.erasmus.92 - 2012-11-13 15:54

    Returning the pieces to the original owners perhaps ;-)

      Onke Mdingi - 2012-11-13 15:58

      Isn't wonderful the 'dead' still manage to steal?

  • phassy - 2012-11-13 15:55

    These people are watching too many movies

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-11-13 16:01

    Is this a case of the Police hitting a Dead End?

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-11-13 16:02

    South Africans are thieves. I'm sorry if I'm tarring everybody with the same brush...

      Khumbulani Ngema - 2012-11-13 16:50

      Not just SA everywhere, this doesn't make us the worst in the world.

  • debduplessis - 2012-11-13 16:04

    ha ha ha... I said look locally --- and here the "leadership" wanted to look internationally... hell they dellusional

  • debduplessis - 2012-11-13 16:06

    Love this part ""We're very, very surprised. It is very uncommon," he said." .... surprised at what? - the thieving or the fact that a RSA thief likes Art?

      barry.mcbride - 2012-11-13 16:28

      LOL, because "Art expert Stephen Welz said the theft was a tragedy, but that he was puzzled by it, as famous works of art were so well documented that it was nearly impossible to sell them, locally or abroad."

      siphom.mnguni - 2012-11-13 17:24

      Surprised at their stupidity for not ensuring that close-circuit must at all time be functioning, especially when one is keeping 10m worth of someone's else property.

  • nhlanhla.keyter - 2012-11-13 16:06


  • hildegard.cilliers - 2012-11-13 16:19

    "The pieces were stolen from the museum's permanent collection on Sunday when thieves posing as art students staged a daring arm robbery." So they stole paintings and ......who's arm? *face|palm*

      siphom.mnguni - 2012-11-13 17:56

      Another bad spelling by News24 reporter, it have read armed robbery not arm robbery. You are observant I did not notice it. Armed robbery is a layman's robbery with aggravating circumstances.

  • linley.dewey - 2012-11-13 16:30

    buried talent

  • osama.pascal - 2012-11-13 16:32

    Now that the art is found it is easy to investigate who perpetrator(s) are.

  • mikel.kiparski - 2012-11-13 16:36

    they just wanted 2 prove a point BAD SECURITY

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-13 16:47

    Can anybody paint a clear picture of what really happened?

  • Khumbulani Ngema - 2012-11-13 16:48

    The fact that they came with a list should tell you it was an inside job.

      isaac.hlalele.3 - 2012-11-13 16:53

      those people are kliptomaniacs by birth

      phae.rayden - 2012-11-13 16:55

      Huh? Did I miss a joke pertaining to ignorance of the museum staff?

      phae.rayden - 2012-11-13 16:58

      Help someone please! Isaac is a kliptomaniac part of the inside job joke?

  • johnwilliam.roberts - 2012-11-13 17:34


  • lauren.taylor.16940599 - 2012-11-13 17:44

    My heart dropped when I heard which paintings had been stollen. "But hey," I thought, "art thieves are sophisticated chaps who will understand the value of what they're stealing & keep them safe so if they can't sell them, they could ransome them." But no, oh no - I forgot that this happened in South Africa where an almost priceless piece of our artistic herritage can be chucked under a bench like a common peice of litter (because the idea of "dustbin" has become relative in South Africa so it incompases the idea of "floor" as well)...Seriously? If you're going to make your career as an art thief, at least learn the basics of the job.

  • kswanepoel - 2012-11-13 18:14

    Can I assume that the SA Police Service is going to hit a "dead end" with their investigation? LOL

  • ian.pollock.313 - 2012-11-13 18:42

    Perhaps the thieves thought the paintings would brighten up the cemetry

  • dewaldroets - 2012-11-13 21:00

    Where was Garfunkel during the time of the robbery ?

  • StreetRacer911 - 2012-11-13 22:20

    I find it odd that the theft specifically occured while the CCTV was broken... Inside job maybe? Glad they found most of the pieces

  • dirk.boersma - 2012-11-17 21:04

    Apparently, they took more than paintings: It was an "arm robbery". Did they bury the arm?

  • pages:
  • 1