“During a search, police officers from the Saint-Omer police station found stolen works belonging to the Sandelin museum,” indicates the Saint-Omer town hall in a press release. She announces a press conference on Thursday on these facts in the presence of the mayor and the curator of this municipal museum. An investigation into concealment of theft has been opened, indicated the public prosecutor of Saint-Omer, Mehdi Benbouzid. “Around forty works”, identified as coming from the Sandelin museum, were found at the Château de Cercamp in Frévent, he specifies.

According to the mayor of Saint-Omer, François Decoster, around 80 works were stolen from the Sandelin museum around 2009-2013, mainly small objects: porcelain, medallions, statuettes… Their disappearance has since been noted, during inventories of the collection, which has 20,000 pieces, he explains. “The curator of the museum had a presumption that he had been able to observe these pieces in a castle which regularly opened to the public”, which led to a complaint from the city, also reported François Decoster.

The Château de Cercamp belongs to a private individual, Serge Dufour, who bought it from Public Assistance in 2012 and has undertaken to restore it since then, as he explains on his website. The property is open to visitors in fine weather. The police announced Wednesday morning on social networks the discovery of works stolen from the Sandelin museum in this castle, supporting photos of paintings and an old fan. She indicated that a person had been taken into custody, information not confirmed by the prosecutor at this time.

The central office for the fight against trafficking in cultural property (OCBC) sent one of its investigators to support the Saint-Omer police officers, responsible for the investigations, according to a source close to the case. This same source confirms that a person was taken into police custody.