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Security lapses blamed for van Gogh theft in Egypt

- Associated Press - Sunday, August 22, 2010

CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's top prosecutor says security lapses are to blame for the theft of a Vincent van Gogh painting from a Cairo museum.

Prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud says none of the alarms and only seven out of 43 surveillance cameras at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum were functioning Saturday when the painting was stolen.

He told Egypt's state news agency Sunday that security at the museum was generally "superficial."

Egypt's culture ministry said Saturday that police had recovered the painting from an Italian couple at Cairo airport. But it later backtracked, saying the statement was based on false information and that the search for the painting continues.

The canvas goes by two titles _ "Poppy Flowers" and "Vase with Flowers." It is valued at around $50 million.

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