Verona, Italy
Castelvecchio museum in Italy has been robbed of many important masterpiecesWikimedia Commons

Three masked robbers stole about 17 artworks, 11 of which were masterpieces, from a museum in the city of Verona in Italy. The city's mayor said the theft at the Museo di Castelvecchio in northern Italy was done during the evening when security staff changed shifts and the museum was still open.

"Robbers entered the museum just at the time of exchange between museum staff and private security," Mayor Flavio Tosi said in a statement. He mentioned that although the museum was under complete video surveillance, "the anti-theft systems, at the time of the robbery, were not yet activated".

Tosi suspect that the robbery was planned by a private collector. "Someone sent them, they were skilled, they knew exactly where they were going," he told AFP.

The Castelvecchio Museum, generally considered "sensitive" by the town council, is under round-the-clock surveillance by armed security personnel, the mayor said, adding that the images from video surveillance cameras have been given to the police for investigation.

The three robbers, dressed in black, gagged and tied up a security guard and a cashier before entering the museum. They even took the officer's car keys so they could have a getaway vehicle after the robbery. According to museum officials, the artworks were worth an estimated €15m (£10.5m).

Verona's city council has issued a list of the stolen artworks, which features masterpieces by Rubens and Tintoretto. They include:

  • 'Madonna With A Quail' by Antonio Pisano
  • 'Saint Jerome' by Jacopo Bellini
  • 'Holy Family with a Saint' by Andrea Mantegna
  • 'Portrait of a Child with a Drawing' and 'Portrait of Young Benedictine' by Giovanni Francesco Caroto
  • 'Nursing Madonna', 'Transport Ark of the Covenant', 'The Queen Of Sheba Before Solomon', 'Samson Killing the Philistines', 'Belshazzar's Feast' and 'Portrait of a Venetian Admiral' by Jacopo Tintoretto
  • 'Portrait of Marco Pasqualigo' by Domenico Tintoretto
  • 'The Lady of Licnidi' by Peter Paul Rubens
  • 'Landscape' and 'Seaport' by Hans de Jode, and
  • 'Portrait of Girolamo Pompei' by Giovanni Benini