Saturday, April 17

Man Suspected of Van Gogh and Hals Painting Thefts Arrested

They’re two work by two main Dutch artists, Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals, and each had been taken final 12 months, inside months of one another, leaving gaping holes on the partitions of two small museums within the Netherlands.

The brace of thefts mystified the Dutch police, which started months of intensive investigation, and on Tuesday they introduced a breakthrough: They’ve recognized a single suspect who they mentioned was concerned in each robberies, an unidentified 58-year-old, who early Tuesday morning was arrested at his house in Baarn, a small city between Utrecht and Amsterdam that’s near the place one of many works, the van Gogh, was taken.

“For months, intensive analysis was performed into the theft of each work,” the police within the central Netherlands area mentioned in a information launch. “This has led to the arrest of a 58-year-old male suspect from Baarn. He was arrested in his house this morning. The person is suspected of stealing the work.”

The work are nonetheless lacking, and the police gave no particulars about how the person was apprehended, however the arrest is a vital step in securing the artworks’ restoration, the discharge mentioned.

“It’s wonderful work by the Dutch police,” mentioned Arthur Model, a non-public artwork detective who has been following each instances. “Usually, after two months a workforce is dismantled as a result of they know they’re not going to get anyplace. However they continued and continued and now they’ve arrested a man who could have stolen each. You don’t see that a lot in instances like these.”

The van Gogh portray that was stolen in March final 12 months had been taken from the Singer Laren Museum, in Laren, which is about 5 miles from Baarn.

The portray, “The Parsonage Backyard at Nuenen in Spring,” from 1884, was a part of a brief exhibition on the Singer Laren, on mortgage from the Groninger Museum. Safety digital camera footage of the theft on March 30 confirmed a person breaking into the museum utilizing a sledgehammer to smash two glass doorways and leaving with the portray beneath his arm.

The second work is a Seventeenth-century portray by the Golden Age grasp Frans Hals. It was stolen in August final 12 months from the wall of a tiny museum, Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden, in Leerdam, about 30 miles south of Baarn. The image, “Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer,” was accomplished round 1628 when Hals was in his 40s.

The Hofje is an almshouse for single girls that additionally showcases the gathering of its 18th-century founder, Maria van Aerden. The portray had hung within the Hofje for greater than two centuries and had acquired some fame, past its creative accomplishment, as a result of the theft in August was the third time it has been stolen from the identical small museum. The portray was beforehand stolen in 2011 and 1988, however recovered each occasions.

In August, thieves broke in, apparently by forcing open the again door, setting off alarms at round 3:30 a.m. native time. The police mentioned there was video of two folks on a scooter approaching the museum in the course of the night time. The video captured the 2 folks using away on the scooter shortly after their arrival, one among them holding one thing massive, like a portray.

Model mentioned that he was shocked to be taught that the suspect is assumed to have stolen each works, from two completely different museums, at completely different occasions. He has theorized on Dutch public tv that the thefts may need been associated, however solely as a result of he thought there was a excessive demand within the Dutch underworld for artworks that individuals who had been accused of drug crimes might doubtlessly alternate for lesser sentences.

The thief, Model mentioned, “has apparently finished it earlier than and he is aware of what he did and why he did it.”

Karina Smrkovsky, a spokeswoman for the Groninger Museum in Groningen, which owns the van Gogh portray, mentioned that the museum didn’t have any extra details about the person the police arrested, however was inspired that the transfer would possibly assist to safe the portray’s return.

“We do hope that will probably be discovered quickly, as a result of that’s an important step for us,” Ms. Smrkovsky mentioned. “We hope this may result in data that may convey the portray again to the museum, the place it belongs.”

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