Art Heist Suspect Willing To Surrender to NL Courts

The alleged burglar who orchestrated the recent heist at the Rotterdam Kunsthal says he will return five of seven stolen artworks if he is tried in a Netherlands court instead of one in Romania. Speaking through his lawyer, Radu Dogaru says the five works include the stolen items by Matisse, Monet and Picasso, according to Bloomberg.

Two of the works are believed to have been destroyed by Dogaru's mother, Olga Dogaru. She initially claimed to have destroyed all the works of art, only to later retract the statement.

Radu Dogaru "has control" over the five pieces which "are definitely in Romania," his lawyer, Catalin Dancu, told reporters. "He's still interested in cutting a deal with Dutch authorities," said the attorney, who also represents Olga Dogaru.

The other suspects are Adrian Procop, who was also involved in the theft and remains at-large, and Eugen Darie, the alleged getaway driver. An investigation determined that ashes in Olga Dogaru's stove included burnt pieces of oil paintings.

“Olga Dogaru’s latest position is that she hasn’t burnt the paintings, she only gave her initial testimony about having burnt them to protect her son and her family who were harassed by Romanian authorities,” Dancu said. Dancu also said the analysis of the stove was "unfounded."

The prosecution in Romania is seeking a maximum 20-year sentence against the three suspects. Two other suspects are being investigated. Prosecutors previously said they would also try to imprison Olga Dogaru for 20 years. A 19-year-old woman, believed to be the girlfriend of one of the men in Romania, was previously arrested in the Netherlands.