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After Thieves Grab a Picasso Brazil Vows Better Security for Federal Museums

The director of the Museums department of Brazil’s National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN), José do Nascimento Júnior, announced, Thursday, March 2, that a new security system will be installed in the 40 museums administered by the Ministry of Culture.

The purpose is to avert crimes like last Friday’s, February 24, theft of five paintings from the Chácara do Céu Museum in Rio de Janeiro, which included a Picasso and Dali.

After a meeting with the Federal Police to be updated on the investigations into the theft and discuss how to combat this type of crime, Nascimento said that "this act demonstrates that Brazil has become part of an international pattern of art theft." That is why "we must also change the pattern of security in all Brazilian museums," he added.

Nascimento refrained from detailing the new museum security scheme and the amount the federal government plans to spend, but he explained that the intention is to install the system as quickly as possible.

"The investigation should lead to the dismantling of the ring that acted in the Chácara do Céu Museum. We will surely discover their modus operandi so that we can be ready for it," he affirmed.

The director also said he hopes that the more than 2,000 museums in Brazil will follow the federal museums’ example and install new security systems.

Paintings and engravings by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Salvador Dali were stolen from the Chácara do Céu Museum by four men armed with grenades. Watchmen hired by a third-party firm were in charge of security at the locale.

Agência Brasil

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