'Ai Petri. Crimea' painting found in Moscow region, suspect detained

'Ai Petri. Crimea' painting found in Moscow region, suspect detained

Russia’s Interior Ministry together with the Federal Security Service have detained the suspected thief that pulled off the heist of Arkhip Kuindzhi’s 'Ai Petri. Crimea' painting in broad daylight from the State Tretyakov Gallery, Russian Interior Ministry spokesperson Irina Volk said.

"A suspect in the theft of Kuindzhi’s painting has been detained in a search operation conducted by staff members of the Main Directorate for Criminal Investigation of the Russian Interior Ministry jointly with the Russian Federal Security Service," TASS cited the spokesperson as saying.

Police apprehended the suspect in the Zarechye village in the Moscow Region. The 31-year-old man told police that he had hidden the painting on the territory of a facility under construction in the Odintsovsky Region. Police later found the painting there.

Back in December 2018, police had taken this individual into custody for drug possession. He is a suspect in a drug-related criminal case and was released under the pledge not to leave the country. The criminal investigation is ongoing.

The painting by famous Russian landscape painter Arkhip Kuinzhi was stolen in broad daylight from Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery on Sunday. The masterpiece had been brought from St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum to be displayed at the exhibition of Kuindzhi’s works.

The police spokesperson earlier told TASS that security officials who were in charge of video monitoring saw unidentified persons remove the painting from the wall and flee the scene. According to a source familiar with the situation, the price of the painting is valued at $1 mln.

The press service aaded that the exhibition at the State Tretyakov Gallery will be re-opened at 3 pm on Monday.