Two men plead guilty in art theft

Sept. 2, 2005 at 2:20 PM

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Two former employees of an art shipping company pleaded guilty in St. Louis to stealing $4 million worth of paintings and other art works.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the 130 items taken from the company in 2002 included works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Salvador Dali.

Both Biron A. Valier, 36, and Donald R. Rasch, 44, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce, the report said.

But the case has some unanswered questions, the report said. Authorities would not discuss the art collectors and galleries that acquired the art and later played a role in disclosing the theft.

The theft was discovered after a man bought eight of the pieces from Rasch, police said.

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