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Warhol thief gets 18 months

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11:26 CEST+02:00

A 29-year-old heating engineer is set to spend 18 months in prison after stealing ten original Andy Warhol paintings from a residence in Thalwil, canton Zurich.

The day after Christmas in 2010, the Swiss-Serbian dual national broke into an attic apartment in Thalwil by drilling a series of holes in the door and then breaking through, newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported.

In addition to the Warhol works, some of which bore signatures from Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol, the thief also stole a picture by Antonio Villanueva.

Earlier this year, the Horgen district court argued that the thief should be severely punished because he had purchased tools specifically for the break-in, and had not known whether the residents were at home or not. This meant he had conceived of the possibility of running into them.

He was convicted in February and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Last week, he withdrew his appeal and will now serve his jail term.

The haul was valued at approximately 300,000 francs ($306,911). The thief said he had not known the value of the paintings and had broken in primarily to look for gold and other valuable items.

The man confessed to the thefts in April 2011 and the paintings were returned to their owner a month later.

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