Lone robber steals $500m paintings

Thief successfully removed five paintings worth $500m from a Paris museum,including works by Picasso

A lone thief has stolen five paintings worth an estimated $500m from a Paris museum in the dead of night, in what has been described as one of the most successful art heists in recent history.

Masked and dressed in black, the thief broke a padlock and smashed a window to gain entry to the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, just south of the Champs-Elysées.

Once inside, he had time to remove the five paintings from their frames and depart before security guards had noticed anything was amiss. The stole works include Pablo Picasso's Le Pigeon aux Petits-Pois and La Pastorale by Henri Matisse.

Police are investigating the scene, and it is as yet unclear whether the thief had any help in getting away from the scene of the crime.

The museum's security system is now under scrutiny because the break-in did not trigger an alarm, and although the thief was caught on CCTV, the security guards did not respond until they noticed the break-in at 7am, once the thief was long gone.