Authorities say a 58-year-old man has been arrested in the Netherlands for allegedly sweeping two paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals from a Dutch museum that had been closed by the coronavirus outbreak.
Police spokeswoman Maren Wonder announced in a video on Tuesday that the man was arrested in Baarn, a municipality about 25 miles southeast of Amsterdam, according to Reuters.
No details about the unnamed suspect were released.
The paintings – Van Gogh’s “Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” and Hals’s “Two Laughing Boys” – have not been recovered, and seek help from the public in their search, Wonder said.
Van Gogh was valued at $ 6.6 million and the Hals painting, dating from 1626, was valued at $ 18 million by one expert, the news agency reported.
“For months now there has been an intense investigation into the theft of both paintings under the leadership of public prosecution,” a Dutch police statement said.
Van Gogh was stolen on March 30, likely to be the painter’s 167th birthday in the 19th century from the Singer Laraine Museum near Amsterdam, while it was closed due to coronavirus measures, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Parsonage Garden” comes from his early career, before he worked on painting his trademark post-impressionist paintings such as “Sunflowers”.
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AFP stated that “Two boys laughing” was stolen during an August burglary at the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden Museum in Leerdam.
The painting, which features two boys laughing at a glass of beer, was previously stolen from the same museum in 2011 and 1988, which have been recovered after six months and three years, respectively.
Arthur Brand, a Dutch art detective who has been called “Indiana Jones of the art world” searches for a number of lost paintings, praising police for masterpiece collars.
“Another huge achievement for the Dutch police,” Brand said in a tweet.
Van Gogh’s paintings are often the target of criminals.
Two of his works returned to display at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum two years ago after they were stolen in 2002.
Painting – “View of the Sea at Scheveningen” in 1882 and 1884/5 “Congregation. Leaving the reformed church at Nuenen was recovered by Italian investigators in 2016 when they raided a house near Naples belonging to the famous mafia baroness. AFP news agency reported.
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Three Van Gogh stolen from the museum. Noordbrabants in 1990 re-emerged after Dutch criminals reached an agreement with prosecutors.
Hals, a contemporary work by Rembrandt and Vermeer during the Dutch Golden Age, is best known for his work including “The Laughing Cavalier” hanging in the Wallace Collection in London and “The Gypsy Girl” at the Louvre. In paris
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