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Daring Art Heist Nets Picasso, Matisse

ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images(AMSTERDAM) -- It sounds like a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie blockbuster. Just after 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, thieves broke into Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum and stole seven paintings by famous modern artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

The masterpieces that were stolen are worth millions of dollars.

At a press conference Tuesday, the museum described the theft as a “nightmare for the museum, and a real bombshell.”

The director of the Kunsthal museum says all the paintings are registered in special databases and they work closely with the Art Loss Register in England, the world’s largest database of stolen art. The Register’s director, Chris Marinello, said it was clear some of the most valuable pieces in the collection were targeted and that “those thieves got one hell of a haul.”

Security expert from the Museum Security Network, Ton Cremers, believes the “paintings will remain in the crime scene for many years. Maybe because they can’t sell them they might destroy them, but again it’s impossible to sell them.”

Dutch police are searching for clues by reviewing surveillance camera footage.

The list of stolen paintings includes:

  • Pablo Picasso: “Tête d’Arlequin”
  • Henri Matisse: “la Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune”
  • Claude Monet: “Waterloo Bridge, London”
  • Claude Monet: “Charing Cross Bridge, London”
  • Paul Gauguin: “Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte, dite la Fiancée”
  • Meyer de Haan: “Autoportrait” (circa 1889 – ’91)
  • Lucian Freud: “Woman with Eyes Closed” (2002)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio