Three More Arrested in Connection With Francis Bacon Heist in Madrid

Spanish police already arrested seven suspects last year.

Photo of a pair of the stolen Francis Bacon paintings. Photo courtesy Spanish Police.

Spanish police have arrested three people in connection with the theft of five Francis Bacon paintings—with an estimated combined worth of €25 million ($28 million)—that were stolen from a private residence in Madrid in June 2015.

According to a release from Spain’s National Police issued on Tuesday, six properties in the Madrid region were raided as part of the operation. A gun, ammunition, manuals for cracking safes, laser devices, tools to cut metal, fake keys, and uniforms were seized.

Police say the three individuals are part of an organized criminal group that burgles homes across Spain.

According to El País, these three individuals were employed to break into the Madrid house where the Bacon paintings were. The key seven perpetrators of the heist, including its mastermind, were arrested in May 2016, and subsequently released on bail.

As part of the operation, five other members of the organized group have been arrested in connection with 16 robberies across Spain.

The theft occurred in June 2015, when J. C. B.—a Spanish friend of the legendary painter who inherited the artworks when Bacon died in 1992—left his residence, in an affluent area in the center of Madrid, for a few hours.

Besides the five paintings, said to be of medium to small size, the thieves stole a safe containing several collections of coins, jewels, and other valuable goods.

At the time, ABC reported that the initials J. C. B. correspond to José Capelo Blanco, and that he was Bacon’s last lover during a relationship that lasted four years, until Bacon’s death in Madrid.

The heist wasn’t made public until March 2016, but a police investigation on both a national and international level was launched shortly after the incident.

Despite the seven arrests in May and these three new arrests this week, a spokeswoman for the Spanish Police confirmed to artnet News that the five stolen Bacon paintings are still missing.

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