Four 17th-century Dutch paintings, including Rembrandt's "Porrtrait of the Robbi," worth about $1 million were stolen from the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, a museum spokesman said today.
Police said the thieves apparently used a skylight in a robbery which followed the plot of Jules Dassin's suspense film "Rififi" to gain access to the museum. Located in Golden Gate Park. They said the thefts were discovered by museum guards at about 10:30 a.m. today.
All four paintings were owned by the city of San Francisco. The others were "River Scene at Night" by Aert van der Neer. "Harbor Scene" by Willem van de velde and "Interior of St. Lawrence Church in Rotterdam" by Antonie Delorme. They were valued at up to $55,000 each.
Charles Long, museum information officer, said several other paintings, including another Rembrandt, had been removed from museum walls but were left behind.
Asked if the theft may have been an "inside job." museum director Ian White said. "There was a certain awareness of the skylights and where they were located."
He said that a piece of the outer skylight had been removed and a chest was placed underneath, perhaps to use as a ladder, in the small gallery in which the paintings were hanging. The paintings were apparently taken out through the skylight and across the roof of the museum sometime after 6 p.m. Sunday. Long said.
The target of an unsuccessful robbery last August, White said. It measures 31 by 25 inches.
The museum was open to the public Sunday but closed today. Two guards were on duty at the time of the theft. CAPTION: Picture 1, "Portrait of the Rabbi" ; Picture 2, Museum director Ian White show thieves apparently gained entry . . ., AP