ATHENS — Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Tuesday said that solving the case of the stolen Picasso and Mondrian paintings was a huge success, during a joint press conference on Tuesday with Culture Minister Lina Mendoni. He highlighted the fact that Picasso had presented the specific painting to the Greek people for their resistance to the German occupation during WWII.
The head of Attica Police Panos Tzaferis said that it had been a point of honour for the Hellenic Police to solve the case and return the paintings to the National Gallery, underlining that they had collaborated with foreign police forces in this effort.
At the same time, the head of the crimes against life and property department, Gr. Zacharakis, said that a 49-year-old suspect now in custody, who works as a builder, is believed to have carried out the theft on his own, without accomplices. Police said the suspect had been watching the National Gallery for six months and knew everything about its operation.
The suspect, who has confessed to the crime, had for the last two months hidden the two paintings, carefully packaged, in a ravine near the settlement of Keratea in Attica.
The theft occurred on January 9, 2012.