Dutch police arrested a suspect on April 6 in the theft of two paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals from separate museums during nighttime raids last year.
In a video statement released on Twitter, Police Spokeswoman Maren Wonder said that they arrested a 58-year-old man at his home in the town of Baarn in Netherlands, 40 kilometers away from Amsterdam, in suspicion of stealing Van Gogh’s 1884 painting “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” and Hals’ 1626 painting “Two Laughing Boys.”
“For months, intensive investigations into the robbery of both paintings were conducted under the leadership of the public prosecution service,” the police stated.
The police searched the home of the suspect, whose identity was not released due to Dutch privacy guidelines, but did not recover either of the paintings.
“Both paintings have not yet resurfaced with this arrest. The search continues unabated,” Wonder stated, calling the arrest “a really important step in the investigation.”
“Compliments to the police for their detective work. No burglary should go unpunished,” Singer Laren Museum Managing Director Evert van Os said in a statement, adding that he hopes the arrest will soon lead to the painting.
The Van Gogh painting is estimated to be worth €5 million (US$6 million) while the Hals painting is estimated to be worth €15 million (US$18 million), amounting to an estimated value of €21 million (US$25 million).
The Van Gogh painting was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum, less than 10 kilometers away from Baarn, on March 30, 2020 when it had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was on loan from the Groninger Museum at the time.
Meanwhile, the Hals painting was stolen from the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden Museum in Leerdam last August.
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