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Serb police find stolen Cezanne painting

(CBS/AP) GENEVA - Swiss prosecutors say a painting seized in Serbia has been confirmed as a stolen masterpiece by French impressionist Paul Cezanne.

Zurich prosecutors said Thursday that the E.G. Buehrle Foundation certified that the painting is Cezanne's "The Boy in the Red Vest."

The painting was worth $109.6 million when it was stolen along with three other works from the private Buehrle collection in 2008.

Two paintings by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh were recovered shortly after the heist. The whereabouts of the fourth, by Edgar Degas, is still unknown.

Monet's "Poppy field at Vetheuil" and van Gogh's "Blooming Chestnut Branches" were discovered undamaged in a car parked at a mental hospital in Zurich soon after the robbery. The heist was conducted by three armed and masked men who witnesses said spoke German with a Slavic accent.

Serbian police arrested three people overnight in connection with the robbery. They said police raids and the arrests in the capital, Belgrade, and in the central city of Cacak were conducted in coordination with police from several European countries.

Belgrade's B-92 TV said the arrested men include the leader of the gang that carried out the heist, and 1.5 million euros, or $1.9 million, in cash and firearms were found in their possession.

Art experts have suggested the robbers took advantage of a low-security museum without knowing about the paintings or how difficult it can be to sell such well-known stolen art works.

The other painting still missing Degas's  "Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter," is worth about $11 million, or 8 million euros.

The robbers took the first four paintings they reached when they raided the museum shortly before closing time on a Sunday. Although the most valuable painting was among the ones they took, they left behind the second most precious picture in the room, Cezanne's "Self Portrait with Palette," insured for $98 million, or 75 million euros.


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