Picasso recovered from 2012 museum robbery a "publicity stunt"

The Kunsthal in Rotterdam where the seven paintings were stolen last year October.

Rumors that an author recovered a stolen Picasso painting, taken in a daring 2012 heist at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, were the result of a hoax perpetrated by a Belgian theater group. The group, called Berlin, duped Dutch writer Mira Feticu as part of an apparent stunt to promote performances of a play spotlighting a Dutch art forger.

Feticu was led on a wild goose chase for the last week and half, where she was told that she could find Harlequin Head wrapped in plastic in a forest. Also known as "Tête d’Arlequin", it has been valued at about €800,000 and is one of seven paintings still missing since the theft.

The €200 million crime was the subject of a novel that the 45-year-old Feticu published in 2015, called Tascha: De roof uit de Kunsthal.

Feticu told AFP that the tip she received turned out to be a" publicity stunt." Meanwhile the theatre group has taken down its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and said it will refuse comment until after they connect with Feticu and Frank Westerman

The two flew to Romania to collect the artwork.

"We will be back with more details on this issue within the next few days," Berlin said on its website.

The Kunsthal theft in the early morning hours of October 16, 2012 took just two minutes. Six people were arrested, four were convicted, including Radu Dogaru. After having trouble selling the works of art, the suspects claim Dogaru's mother Olga buried the paintings in a cemetery before eventually destroying them in an oven.

Investigators in Romania later said they found evidence that three of the paintings were burned, but no traces of the other four. In court, despite initially confessing to burning the paintings, Olga Dogaru retracted her statement.