The investigative body of Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office recovered 72 stolen artistic works by 19th-century Colombian artist, Efrain Martinez, national media reported on Thursday.
Local authorities received a call from an unknown informant that notified them where they could find the paintings, which were previously stolen from the Efrain Martinez Museum House, Colombia’s W Radio reported.
The call led authorities to a city park where the “priceless” artwork was left abandoned.
The Regional Director of the Investigative Technical Body (CTI) in Colombia’s southwestern state of Cauca, Martha Ines Restrepo Saavedra, recalled that 82 pieces were taken from the museum, indicating that the investigation will continue efforts to locate the remaining 10 artworks. However, “it seems that four of the works have already been sold,” Restrepo said according to W Radio.
The artwork was initially stolen in October of last year, when the assailants arrived on the museum grounds and carried off the works after overpowering three women who were in the museum at the time, according to El Pais.
The museum is located in the Tejares neighborhood in the south of Popayan, Cauca.
“One must remember that the recovered works are emblematic not only of our culture, but also of the artistic valor and history of the entire country,” Restrepo added.
The Prosecutor General’s Office recognized that the recovery of the artwork was made possible thanks to the recent dismantling of the criminal group, La Ramona, that operated in Colombia and Ecuador, according to W Radio.
The artwork recovery process was carried out in Santa Catalina Park in the city of Popayan. According to Restrepo, “they left them there so that officers would pick them up.”
The works will undergo a rigorous assessment process due to the fact that they were mistreated by the individuals who were keeping them, Restrepo reported.
Local authorities will deliver the reward of about $11,000 to the caller who gave the information that allowed the recovery of the artworks, according to El Pais.