11 Jailed Over Egypt Van Gogh Theft

Officials convicted of incompetence, negligence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2010 12:22 AM CDT
11 Jailed Over Egypt Van Gogh Theft
This Vincent van Gogh painting known by the titles of "Poppy Flowers" and "Vase with Flowers" was stolen from Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo in late August.   (AP Photo)

An Egyptian court has ruled that 11 Culture Ministry officials should spend the next 3 years under tighter lock and key than they kept a $50 million Van Gogh painting. The officials, who plan to appeal, were convicted of incompetence and gross negligence over the theft of Poppy Flowers from a Cairo museum in August, the BBC reports.

The painting was cut out of its frame and stolen in broad daylight. An investigation found that none of the museum's alarms and only seven of 43 security cameras were working. Officials testified that they had known about security problems but hadn't been given enough money to fix them. Some Egyptian officials believe the theft was an inside job, although nobody has been charged with theft and the painting hasn't been recovered.
(More stolen Van Gogh stories.)

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