BUCHAREST (AFP).- Romanian investigators have found a suitcase allegedly used to hide seven masterpieces by artists such as Gauguin, Monet and Picasso stolen in October from a Dutch museum, judicial sources said Tuesday.
"An empty suitcase allegedly belonging to one of the Romanian suspects, Radu Dogaru, was found during a search in Romania," a police source told AFP.
Judicial sources cited by the Mediafax news agency said "the paintings were apparently stored in the suitcase" that was found buried in a yard in the remote village of Carcaliu in eastern Romania.
Several searches were conducted Tuesday in the eastern department of Tulcea, home to Dogaru and two other Romanian suspects arrested over the heist.
Police targeted among others the house of a young Romanian woman arrested Monday in Rotterdam, Mediafax said.
The 19-year-old woman, Natasa Timofei, Dogaru's girlfriend, is suspected of being involved in the handling of the seven stolen paintings.
Police said it appeared the paintings had been taken to a home in Rotterdam immediately after being stolen. They were then apparently removed from the frames and later taken to Romania.
The heist gripped the Netherlands and the art world as police apparently struggled to piece the crime together, despite putting 25 officers on the case.
The works stolen include Picasso's "Tete d'Arlequin", Monet's "Waterloo Bridge" and Lucian Freud's "Woman with Eyes Closed".
Experts put the paintings' value at between 100 and 200 million euros ($130 million to $260 million).
Nearly five month after the theft, the works' whereabouts are still unknown.
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