In 2008, four Serbs stole four paintings by Cezanne, Monet, Degas and van Gogh. The Cezanne has now found its way home to Switzerland.
Four years after the audacious theft of the artwork, the $130 million Cezanne is in hand and on its way to Switzerland, according to Serbian police.
“The Boy in the Red Vest” by prominent French impressionist Paul Cezanne was found in Belgrade on April 12, following the arrest of four people on suspicion of robbing the E.G. Buhrie Collection in Zurich in February 2008.
The thieves stole four valuable paintings from the museum in what was one of the biggest art thefts in Europe.
Two of the stolen paintings, Claude Monet's "Poppy Field at Vetheuil" and Vincent van Gogh's "Blooming Chestnut Branches" were found in a psychiatric hospital car park shortly after the robbery.
"Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter" by Edgar Degas was later discovered in 2009.
However, the location of the Cezanne remained unknown until now.
The alleged thieves were attempting to sell the painting to a Serbian buyer when the police caught up with them.
After a spectacular car chase through the street of Belgrade, the alleged leader of the gang, Ivan Pekovic, was caught in a car park. Besides the Cezanne the gang was found to be in possession of more than £1 million in cash and a substantial collection of firearms.
Serbian authorities advise that a foreign art expect flew in from Swizterland to authenticate the Cezanne.
Serbian art experts believe that there could be 10 further stolen works of art still hidden in the country. Serbia has a thriving black market and is a favored destination for art thieves.
Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic announced that the painting was flown to Switzerland on Monday on a special flight. He said "(I) hope they guard it well" from now on.