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3 convicted, 3 acquitted in Munch theft case

An appeals court Friday convicted three men and acquitted three others of involvement in the 2004 theft of the Edvard Munch masterpieces ‘The Scream’ and ‘Madonna.’
/ Source: The Associated Press

An appeals court Friday convicted three men and acquitted three others of involvement in the 2004 theft of the Edvard Munch masterpieces “The Scream” and “Madonna.”

Two of the rulings by a jury reversed a lower court’s decision.

The paintings — considered priceless — were recovered by police on Aug. 31, about two years after they were stolen by masked gunmen in a brazen daylight heist at Oslo’s Munch Museum. Both were damaged and are being repaired.

In May, the Oslo district court convicted three men of helping the armed robbers, and sentenced them to prison terms of between four and eight years. Three others were acquitted.

After about eight hours of deliberation, a 10-member jury in the Borgarting appeals court upheld the conviction of Petter Tharaldsen, 34, and Bjoern Hoen, 38, for grand theft. It also convicted Stian Skjold, 30, of the same charge, reversing his acquittal in the Oslo district court last year.

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The jury upheld the acquittals of two other men, and acquitted a third who had been sentenced to four years in prison by the lower court.

It was not immediately clear if the rulings would be appealed to Norway’s supreme court. The cases were heard by a jury after both the defense and the prosecution appealed the Oslo city court ruling.

“The Scream” and “Madonna” were part of Munch’s “Frieze of Life” series, in which sickness, death, anxiety and love are central themes. Munch, a major influence in the modern expressionist movement, died in 1944 at 80.