Stolen this summer at the thermal baths of Plombieres-les-Bainsin the Vosges, a bust representing Hercules was found in the home of a Luxembourg national in the region, the gendarmerie said on Thursday in a press release.
On August 9, the management of the thermal baths noticed the disappearance of the bust, an object weighing 80 kilos, dated from the 19th century and estimated at 30,000 euros. The sculpture, on loan from the Louvre since 1934, was in the room that serves as a rest area for spa guests. But the thermal baths had been closed since 2020 for rehabilitation work. “There was no break-in or damage. It is an area that was not secure, “says the gendarmerie to 20 minutes.
A second man cleared
According to investigators, the bust was stolen between August 1 and August 9. The investigation, which was entrusted to the Remiremont research brigade by the Epinal public prosecutor’s office, made it possible to identify “thanks to a testimony” a commercial vehicle, registered in Luxembourg, seen near the thermal baths, specified the gendarmerie. The Central Office for the Fight against Trafficking in Cultural Property was also seized to verify that the bust had not been “the subject of an order on the illegal market for the resale of works of art”, a she added.
The suspect, identified as a Luxembourg national renovating a house in the Vosges, was arrested on August 23. A second man, his landlord and brother-in-law, also arrested, was quickly cleared. The same day, during the search, the gendarmes found the somewhat damaged bust, twelve chairs, two lithographs and a plan on a metal support also stolen from the thermal baths. The man is summoned before the Épinal court on May 25, 2023.