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Three convicted for 2010 Paris modern art heist

Three convicted for 2010 Paris modern art heistAn agile thief nicknamed "spiderman," an antiques dealer and an art expert have been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay the city of Paris for stealing five masterpieces from the city's Modern Art Museum worth 104 million euros, AP reported on Monday.

The paintings — by Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque and Fernand Leger — have not been seen since the dramatic 2010 heist.

The Paris court on Monday convicted "Spiderman" Vjeran Tomic of stealing the paintings and sentenced him to eight years in prison. Tomic, who has a criminal record of 14 previous offences, admitted the stealing.

Jean-Michel Corvez, the antiques dealer who orchestrated the theft, was sentenced to seven years.

Yonathan Birn, who stored the paintings and told the court he destroyed them out of fear of getting caught, screamed at the judge who sentenced him to six years in prison.

The masked thief broke into the museum around 3:00 a.m. on May 20, 2010. He entered the gallery by removing the glass from a window without breaking it. The theft went unnoticed by the three guards on duty that night, and made headlines as it exposed surprising failures in the museum's security systems. The motion detector had been malfunctioning for months. The alarm, which should have been set off by the break-in, was also out of order.

The burglary was only noticed early the next morning during one of the guard's rounds. Footage from the surveillance cameras showed that a single person had climbed through the museum's window.

The police traced Tomic through an insider's hint. The stolen works are so famous that they couldn't be sold, yet they are still missing.

The most expensive among the stolen paintings was Picasso's work "Le pigeon aux petits pois" ("The Pigeon with Green Peas").
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