Stolen Picasso and Chagall paintings found in Antwerp basement

Paintings by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall stolen from a private collection in Tel Aviv 14 years ago have been found in a basement in Antwerp, Belgium. The two paintings, Tête (1971) by Picasso and L’homme en prière (1970) by Chagall, then valued at $900,000, were taken from the villa of the Herzikovich family in February 2010. The thieves disabled the house’s sophisticated alarm system and broke into the safe to steal $680,000 worth of jewelry. They made off with the jewelry and the Picasso and Chagall pieces. There were other important artworks in the house which were not touched.

The case went cold until late 2022, when police in Namur, Belgium, were informed that a 68-year-old Israeli watch dealer residing in Namur was offering the two paintings for sale. The suspect, currently identified by authorities only as Daniel Z, was placed under surveillance in the attempt to confirm the information in the tipoff. Investigators were able to establish that he was indeed in possession of the stolen works.

On January 10, 2024, police raided Daniel Z’s home and detained him and his wife. They found large amounts of cash in the house, but not the paintings. The home of one of his relatives was also searched with nothing found. The suspect soon confessed to police that he had the Picasso and Chagall in his possession, but refused to tell them where they were hidden. Two days later, police searched another location: a building in Antwerp that once housed a sketchy art dealership connected to stolen paintings. There, in the cellar, the paintings were found inside two wooden boxes with screwed down lids. They were in undamaged condition in their original frames.

Daniel Z was arrested and charged with receiving stolen goods.