April 07, 2005

Munch Theft update

Do the police finally have a theory? Well, according to Aftenposten, maybe the Munch theft was linked to another robbery and maybe the gang who stole the Munch paintings did so to create a spectacular art theft that would tie up and divert police resources while the gang went on to perform another fantastic heist. Sounds ridiculous. Sounds like the police need to get some more money so they can buy a clue. I've been following this theft for some time and, well, here's the text of the article (in case the link expires) and you be the judge:

Munch robbery a diversion? Police now apparently rounding up the final suspects in one of Norway's biggest robbery cases now believe their work may also lead to a breakthrough in the high-profile theft of two masterpieces by Edvard Munch.

The robbery, which was a ruthless and large-scale operation, resulted in the shooting death of police officer Arne Sigve Klungland, making it an exceptionally violent crime by Norwegian standards.

The police investigation to catch the members of the gang behind the NOKAS robbery is the biggest law-enforcement operation ever launched in Norway, and has already cost NOK 65 (USD 10.2) million, probably a bit more than the thieves made off with.

Now investigators say they cannot rule out that the robbery of Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" from the Munch Museum in Oslo on August 22 last year was part of an advance maneuver from the band behind the NOKAS heist. The goal would have been to tie up investigative resources by creating a spectacular art theft.

On the grounds that the members of the various criminal networks in the underworld in Oslo and eastern Norway know each other, police inspector Iver Stensrud is optimistic that more than one case may be solved by the NOKAS investigation.

"I would therefore not rule out that the arrests in the NOKAS case will lead to a positive development in the investigation of the Munch case," Stensrud told Aftenposten.

Police have biological trace evidence in the getaway car used in the Munch robbery, and have an increasing number of suspects in custody to test.

The Malaga arrest of Toska, in the company of a 28-year-old Norwegian suspected of being behind a major hashish smuggling operation, is another indicator to police that Norway's criminal circles often merge, with multi-faceted international criminals becoming the norm.

"It is interesting for us that these two were arrested together. It is relevant to raise the question of whether part of the robbery take has been used to purchase large quantities of hashish, and this is something the police will investigate closely," Stensrud said.

Think I'm being too hard on these poor, hard working idiots? The only promising thing, from my vantage point, is that they may have some form of "biological evidence" recovered from the getaway car.

I despair that these paintings will ever be found.

And while on the subject, I bet if they ever do catch anyone, no one is going to jail because they will demonstrate that they are unbalanced. I mean, if you can get away with stabbing six people on a bus, killing one of them, and not serve any prison time, what do you have to do to get put in the clink?

Accused killer not legally sane A Norwegian-Somalian who went amok on an Oslo tram last August, killing one and injuring five with a combat knife, has been assessed as psychotic and cannot serve prison time.

Police arrive on the scene of the stabbing rampage that stunned Oslo in August last year.

Forensic psychiatrists say the 41-year-old man was psychotic when the crimes were committed and is still psychotic and recommend he receive treatment for at least five years. He stands charged with one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

District attorney Terje Nyb√łe will ask that the defendant be transferred to compulsory psychiatric care when the trial begins in Oslo municipal court on April 26.

Defense counsel Heidi Bache-Wiig said her client does not remember anything that happened and will plead not guilty.

The 41-year-old was seated in the front of the tram and suddenly stood up and began methodically stabbing passengers. The driver stopped and opened the doors to help people escape and the assailant ran off, eventually getting away after threatening a motorist into surrendering a vehicle.

The Norwegian-Somalian man was a known 'ticking bomb'. He had been released from the psychiatric polyclinic at Ullevål University Hospital four days before the tram attack and was on the police list of suspects when they received a tip from a mosque that led to an arrest.

The 41-year-old had no medication and reportedly had been sleeping rough, on benches and in bus shelters, and spending his days in a park in the period before the attack.

The investigation revealed that the defendant had tried to receive medical help just three hours before the rampage, but was refused. Norway's Board of Health criticized Ullevål for their treatment of the man, and for not supplying their final report to the man's physician.

Bache-Wiig told Aftenposten that she is still considering suing Ullevål for compensation for the way her client was treated.

Posted by Random Penseur at April 7, 2005 10:16 AM

maybe the theory works - apparently the police have made one arrest for the Munch robbery.

Posted by: GrammarQueen at April 8, 2005 04:31 PM
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