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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Paintings Stolen in Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG -- Armed robbers stole two pictures insured for $1.2 million from the Russian State Museum on Tuesday, shooting at a policeman as they ran off, a spokeswoman for the museum said.

The robbers climbed into the museum, in the center of St. Petersburg, through a broken window.

They stole "The Solitary Guitarist" by Vasily Perov, insured for $700,000, and a sketch of the painting "Troika" by the same artist, which was insured for $500,000.

"They jumped out the window and when a policeman chased them shouting, 'Stop I'm going to shoot,' they shot at him," the spokeswoman said.

The policeman was not hit. The robbers got away.

Since the Soviet collapse, hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of art works have disappeared from Russian museums, many due to inadequate anti-theft systems. As Russia's cultural capital, St. Petersburg has been especially hard-hit, with 178 thefts reported in 1997, up from 18 in 1992.