The most powerful scene came during the sentencing of Yonathan Birn, the 40-year-old watchmaker who stored the stolen paintings for Corvez. Throughout the proceeding Birn was reportedly “wringing his hands” while growing increasingly angry and muttering: “It’s madness.” Birn had claimed during court proceedings that after holding on to the works, he was driven by a fit of panic to toss the five paintings in the garbage after police drew close to catching him in May. He called it the “the worst mistake of my existence.” But neither the presiding judge, nor his co-defendants, seemed to believe his explanation. Instead, the judge accused him of having “no repentance, no will to restitution,” and sentenced him to six years in jail and a €150,000 fine.
Birn’s lawyer, Caroline Toby, called her client’s sentence “particularly severe,” according
to the Associated Press
. Still, Birn’s sentence was slightly less than the seven to 10 years sought by prosecutors.
While Judge Ghaleh-Marzban chastised the museum for its lax security, he ultimately found that the burglars bore full responsibility for the crime. As such, the three defendants were held responsible for collectively paying roughly $110 million to cover insurance payouts made after the works were stolen. It is unlikely the trio will ever be able to cover the bill, and it is unclear if they plan to appeal.