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Munch theft in Sweden gets 3 men convicted

Three men have been convicted in Malmo, Sweden, in the theft earlier this year of three paintings, including one by Edvard Munch.

Three men were convicted Wednesday in Malmo, Sweden, in the theft earlier this year of three paintings, including one by Edvard Munch.

The Malmo Art Museum hadn't known the paintings were missing until police recovered them in October while investigating another crime.

Munch's Two Friends, and two other paintings by Swedish artists Gustaf Rydberg and  Paer Siegaard had been placed in storage and weren't missed until police contacted the museum. Two Friends, a painting of two dogs by Norwegian expressionist artist Munch, is valued at $1.5 million.

A 35-year-old man was sentenced to six months imprisonment for receiving stolen goods, and a 34-year-old man was convicted and fined for handling stolen goods. A 52-year-old man, who claimed he found the paintings amid debris on a wharf near the museum, was given extended probation on theft charges.

The three men were also ordered to pay 33,000 kronor ($4,800) in damages to the municipality of Malmo, about 700 km from Stockholm.

The Malmo Art Museum says the attention the theft focused on the small regional museum has helped it raise funds. As a result, it has upgraded its security measures.

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