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17 paintings stolen in armed raid at Verona museum

Armed bandits have stolen 17 paintings, including works by Tintoretto, Rubens and Mantegna, from Verona's art museum.

Mayor Flavio Tosi said the robbers struck just as the Castelvecchio Museum was closing on Thursday evening in the north-eastern Italian city, right before the night-time alarm system was activated.

Museum director Paola Marini estimated the value of the 17 paintings at 15 million euros (£10 million).

The mayor said the trio of robbers were "professionals, they knew what to take and they knew the museum".

One of the robbers threatened the cashier and an armed guard at gunpoint while two accomplices took the paintings, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The last visitors had already left the museum before the robbery.

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