Man admits to ’99 theft of Rembrandt

AFP-JIJI

A Frenchman has claimed responsibility for the theft of a Rembrandt painting worth millions that was stolen from a French museum in 1999 and recovered last week, a source said Friday.

The 43-year-old from Lot-et-Garonne in southwest France told police he had stolen the Dutch master’s “Child with a Soap Bubble” from a municipal museum as “a challenge” and had never earned any money from it. He turned himself in Wednesday night on the advice of his lawyer, a day after the painting was recovered.

Two men, including a former insurance salesman, were arrested Tuesday in Nice in possession of the painting, which was valued at 20 million francs, or roughly $5.4 million today.

The artwork was stolen from a museum in the nearby city of Draguignan in July 1999. After admitting the theft, the man was allowed to leave while further investigations are carried out.