In one of the more bizarre stories of art theft and recovery, Reuters has reported that EUR 10 million worth of four stolen paintings including a valuable Poussin Midas at the Source of the River Pactolus have been recovered in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio in a carpark. Reuters reported that after a tip from an anonymous phone caller,
The canvasses were lying on the ground (in the carpark) and one had been placed in a binbag. They’re in good condition and are undergoing analysis.
What makes this story truly interesting is the original circumstances under which the four paintings disappeared last February from the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio. According to the blog The Art Tribute,
A museum attendant wanted to negotiate a rent-free apartment from his employer using the paintings as a bargaining tool ! Though it seems hard to believe, he called the local television station, France 3 after the theft to announce that he had stolen the paintings and that he would restitute them in return for an apartment, showing that he had lost his senses. Finally, he was forced to reveal their location, that is, inside his car which was parked on the road leading to the Punta château overlooking the city of Ajaccio. But, in a dramatic turn of events, after the police arrived they found that the vehicle had been broken into and that the museum works had disappeared.
All’s well that ends well, however while I do imagine that the museum attendant did get a rent free place to stay for the year, it was in a local jail.