They are two paintings by two prominent Dutch artists, Vincent van Gogh and Frances Hales, and both were taken months after each other, leaving gaping holes on the walls of two small museums in the Netherlands last year.
The theft incident led to the revelation to the Dutch police, which began months of intense investigation and on Tuesday announced a breakthrough: they have identified the same suspects, who they said were both involved in the robbery, an unidentified 58-year-old , Who was arrested at his home in Bern on Tuesday morning, van Gogh was taken to a small town between Utrecht and Amsterdam, which is close to work.
“For months, extensive research was conducted into the robbery of both paintings,” the Central Netherlands area police said in a news release. “It has arrested a 58-year-old male suspect from Bern. He was arrested at his house this morning. The man is suspected of stealing paint. “
The release said the painting is still missing, and police did not provide any information about how the man was apprehended, but the arrest is an important step toward the recovery of the artifacts.
“This is amazing work by the Dutch police,” said Arthur Brand, a private art detective who is following both cases. “Usually, after two months a team is disbanded because they know they are not going anywhere. But they continued and continued and now they have arrested a man who stole both of them. You don’t see that much in such cases. “
Van gogh painting He was stolen In March last year it was taken from the Singer Laren Museum in Laran, which is about five miles from Bern.
The painting, “Parsonage Gardens at Nunnen in Spring,” was part of a temporary exhibition at Singer Laren, since 1884, on loan from the Groninger Museum. Robbery security camera footage on March 30 A man is smashed into the museum, using a sledgehammer to break down two glass doors and leave with paintings under his arm.
The second work is a 17th-century painting by Golden Age master Francis Hulse. It was stolen from a small museum wall in August last year, Museum Hofez van Mevorov van Erden, In Leerdam, about 30 miles south of the barn. picture, “Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer,” was completed around 1628 when Hales was in his 40s.
Hoffje is an allhouse for unmarried women that showcases the collection of its 18th-century founder, Maria van Erden. The painting was hung in Hoffje for over two centuries and Had gained some fame, Beyond its artistic achievement, as it was stolen for the third time in August from the same small museum. The painting was previously stolen in 2011 and 1988, but was recovered both times.
In August, the thieves, apparently, forced the backdoor to open, setting off the alarm at around 3:30 pm local time. Police said there was a video of two people on a scooter near the museum at midnight. The video captured two people riding on a scooter shortly after their arrival, one of them caught something big like a painting.
Brand said he was surprised to learn that the suspect is believed to have stolen both works, from two different museums, at different times. He has theorized on Dutch public television that the robbery may be related, but only because he thought there was a high demand in the Dutch underworld for the artifacts that people who were charged with drug offenses had potentially short sentences. Could exchange.
The thief, Brand said, “has clearly done this before and he knows what he did and why he did it.”
Karina Smrkowski, a spokesperson for the Groninger Museum in Groningen, which owns the Van Gogh painting, said the museum does not know much about the man the police arrested, but was encouraged that the move would lead to the painting May help to secure a withdrawal. .
“We hope to get it soon, because this is the most important step for us,” Ms. Smirkowski said. “We hope that this will provide information that will bring the painting back to the museum where it is.”