By Angelos Anastasiou
Two men, aged 47 and 48, were arrested on Sunday and remanded for six days in connection with the September 29 theft of Edgar Degas’ Ballerina painting, reportedly worth some €6 million, from its owner’s home in Apeshia, Limassol.
According to a police report, the two men from Larnaca matched witnesses’ descriptions of the two individuals seen entering the 70-year-old owner’s house on the day of the theft, while the owner had been away on a scheduled meeting to negotiate the sale of his house and part of his art collection.
It later emerged that the owner was in talks for the sale of his house with 55-year-old Russian Sergey Tyulenev, a Limassol resident, who was arrested and remains in custody along with two Greek Cypriots, 44 and 53, in connection with the case.
Although the suspects deny any involvement in the case, lead investigator Eleni Michael told the court on Sunday during the remand hearing that telecommunication records – disclosed to police last Friday – show both their mobile phones as having sent a signal from the Apeshia station at the time of the theft.
The two men, Michael said, were known to police through similar cases in the past.
Telecommunications records also revealed two mobile-phone conversations between one of the suspects and one of the three already detained in connection with the case.
Additionally, the court heard, one of the suspects’ cars matched the description of the car seen parked outside the owner’s house during the burglary. Witnesses had confirmed seeing a car parked outside the house but dismissed it as handymen invited by the owner as it conspicuously carried electricians’ equipment.
One of the suspects had been called by police for questioning on the day the painting had gone missing, and he testified being at home with his wife at the time of the crime.
Apart from the painting, which remains missing, the burglars also removed a metal safe which contained seven golden watches, three pairs of golden opera glasses, three golden glasses and twenty cuff links, thought to be worth around €162.000.