Seventeen paintings stolen from Verona museum retrieved in Ukraine

Works by Tintoretto, Mantegna and Rubens were hidden in plastic bags near the Moldovan border

Police in Ukraine have retrieved the 17 Old Master paintings stolen from the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona last November and will soon return them to the museum, the Italian culture ministry announced yesterday, 11 May. The Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini said in a statement that the recovery closes the investigation coordinated by Italy’s Carabinieri unit for art crime in Ukraine and Moldova.

The works were found wrapped in plastic bags and hidden in shrubbery on Turunchuk island on the Dniester river near Ukraine's southwestern border with Moldova. The trove, which is estimated to be worth between €10m and €15m, includes five works by Jacopo Tintoretto and paintings by Andrea Mantegna, Peter Paul Rubens and Pisanello. Ukrainian police said the works were due to be resold in Ukraine or Russia, Il Corriere del Veneto reports.  

Three masked thieves stole the works from the museum at closing time on the evening of 19 November before the alarm system was enabled. In March, Italian police arrested 13 in connection with the theft: 11 Moldovans and two Italians, including the museum security guard.