Two held on robbing flamenco dancer

  • 2000-04-27
  • By Vineta Lagzdina
RIGA - Latvian police detained two men in Riga during the weekend April 16-17, suspected of robbing the apartment of Spanish flamenco and folk dance expert, Marta Alberinga, 90. The two suspects, one of whom was detained for another crime, are being held in the preliminary detention facility said Criminal Police Chief Janis Vonda from the Riga Police Headquarters.

According to the Police Press center spokesman Leiskalns, the investigation is proceeding and the items recovered will be returned to their rightful owner as soon as the proceedings are completed.

Almost 18 months ago, Dec. 17 1998, three masked criminals broke into Alberinga's Riga apartment as she was returning home and locking the door. Alberinga was overpowered by the thieves who then made away with 13 original paintings from the 19th and 20th century, a china vase and other antiquities.

Alberinga had accumulated many valuable artifacts and costumes from a lifetime's career as a famous Spanish dance performer. She donated a major part of her collection to the Riga Museum of History and Navigation on her 90th birthday in 1999. The donation was one of the grandest personal donations made to the Museum and lists 771 articles including paintings, furniture, glassware, china, textiles and costumes. An earlier donation went to her home town Valmiera in north- eastern Latvia.

Alberinga visited Spain, the land of her dreams, for the first time in 1996 at the age of 86 by invitation from the Spanish government and was soon hailed as the Queen of Castanets.

The renowned dancer has been awarded the highest national decoration in Latvia, the order of the three stars.

Baltic News Service contributed to this report