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Art stolen at Rio Carnival put up for sale online

Written by: Staff
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Mar 3 (Reuters) One of four paintings by European masters stolen last week from a Rio de Janeiro museum was put up for sale on an Internet auction site for 13 million dollars, Brazil's federal police said.

Henri Matisse's ''Luxembourg Gardens'' was advertised on a Web site hosted in Russia, and Brazilian investigator Deuller Rocha said Interpol had joined in the widening search.

''Given the characteristics of the crime, the way the thieves acted, it may be a contract job done for an international crime ring,'' Rocha said yesterday.

Though the painting was listed on a Russian site, he said he believed it and the other stolen works were still in Rio.

Four armed men stole several famous paintings from a Rio museum last Friday before slipping away in a crowd of Carnival revelers.

The other stolen paintings were Pablo Picasso's ''Dance,'' Claude Monet's ''Marine'' and Salvador Dali's ''Two Balconies,'' officials of the Chacara do Ceu museum said. Rocha also said the thieves stole a book of Picasso prints.

The suspects, thought to have been carrying a grenade, forced guards to turn off the museum's internal television feed and roughed up one of them.

REUTERS DH RAI0553

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