MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. A court in Moscow on Tuesday remanded in custody for two months the man accused of stealing Arkhip Kuindzhi’s painting Ai-Petri, Crimea from the Tretyakov Gallery, a TASS correspondent reports from the courtroom.
Ivan Chuprikov will stay under arrest till March 27, the judge said.
The court said Chuprikov’s guilt was confirmed by reports from the crime scene and videos, as well as confrontations with witnesses. The thief’s suspected accomplices have not been detained yet.
The investigator requested the accused be remanded in custody.
"Chuprikov committed a high-profile crime. Not all persons involved have been identified. He may try to contact them or escape," the investigator said in support of his request for Chuprikov’s arrest. The motion was backed by the prosecutor.
The defense asked for a different restrictive measure not involving deprivation of freedom.
Chuprikov refused to testify and asked the court for putting him under house arrest. He refused to answer journalists’ question after the court’s decision was read out. His common law wife, too, refused to say anything if she had prior knowledge of her husband’s plans.
On January 27, the museum’s security personnel saw on CCTV cameras that an identified visitor took off a painting from the wall in one of the museum’s halls and left the building. The suspect, Denis Chuprikov, was detained in the village of Zarechye, the Moscow Region on Monday. He told the operatives he had hidden the painting at a construction site in the Odintsovo Region. The work of art was promptly recovered. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Irina Volk said the thief had been involved in a drug possession case and already given written promise not to leave town.
According to information available at this point, the crime was committed in pursuit of self-interest. Measures are being taken to identify likely accomplices. A source told TASS there were two thieves. Possibly, they had some accomplices. It is not ruled out that the painting was stolen for an anonymous customer.
The investigator told court on Tuesday Chuprikov had accomplices.