BY TOBY PORTER
Quick action by police ensured two pictures in an exhibition by one of the most famous artists of all time were dumped by a robber as they fled into the night.
Police believe Wednesday’s operation to steal from the Rembrandt show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery had been carefully planned, with some of the paintings being worth millions of pounds.
But the heist, which took place at around 11.30pm, was foiled by a rapid response from Flying Squad cop – one of whom was sprayed in the face by the fleeing thief.
The intruder appears to have forced entry to the gallery and removed the two paintings.
Officers arrived minutes later and, following a search of the area, discovered an intruder, and an officer gave chase. The intruder then turned and used a canister to spray the officer in the face with an unknown substance, fleeing in the process.
The officer escaped serious harm and both paintings were quickly found and returned to the gallery.
Detective Inspector Jason Barber, from the Flying Squad, said: “This was an audacious attempted burglary and was clearly planned in advance.
Two paintings in the exhibition were targeted and it was only down to the prompt response of gallery security staff and the courage and swift intervention of officers that these two works of art were not stolen.
“Thankfully both the paintings were quickly recovered and secured.
“Our enquires now centre on finding whoever was responsible for this crime and I would ask anyone with information to call police.”
Call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC. Quote CAD 8662/13NOV.
To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org.