June 9, 2009

Valuable Picasso sketchbook stolen

French authorities are trying to figure out who took a Pablo Picasso sketchbook worth millions of dollars from a Paris museum.

The New York Times reported the sketchbook of 33 crayon drawings dating from 1917 to 1924 was snatched from a first-floor exhibition room of the Picasso National Museum either Monday or Tuesday. The drawings are valued at $8.4 million to $14 million, the Times said.

Independent Television News reported there was no sign off a break-in at the museum. Officials for the museum were not available for comment ITN said.

The Independent, a British newspaper, reported the sketchbook was noticed missing from its cabinet about lunchtime Tuesday. The museum's alarm system didn't go off, it said.

The Ministry of Culture said a special tool was needed to open the cabinet but The Independent reported a museum employee said the cabinet was open because the lock was broken.

The newspaper said police were trying to determine whether the theft was planned or a spontaneous act associated with a special event at the museum that was open to neighbors in the area.