On 15 July, thieves made away with Shrimps and Shells, a small panel by James Ensor from the collection of the Museum Van Buuren in Ukkel. (The panel has a value of 200.000 euro). In addition, other works of art were also stolen such as an artwork by the Dutch painter Kees van Dongen, with a replacement value of 1,2 million euro. Works by Brueghel II and Adriaen Brouwer were also lost in the heist. The total worth of the loot is estimated at 1,5 million euro. The most well-known works were, however, left untouched by the thieves.
The theft appears to have been planned down to the smallest detail. According to art expert Janpiet Callens a reconnaissance took place before the break in. According to him, the paintings are not able to be sold. "It is incomprehensible that people continue to be involved with art theft," he said on De Ochtend on Radio 1. "It could be that the culprits are working on commission for a collector or will demand a ransom."