Man sentenced to 8 years after robbing a Van Gogh and a Frans Hals
The two works together are worth more than $ 20 million, but have not yet been found.
It happened in the Netherlands, where the Central Court decided to punish a 59-year-old from Baarn with the highest sentence for having “damaged not only the museums concerned, but also society as a whole”
Nils M. (real name was not disclosed) had stolen the two works from two different museums in similar circumstances in 2020, and was tracked down thanks to surveillance cameras.
Van Gogh “The Garden of the rectory in Nuenen in spring” (1884)
The first work was stolen on March 29, 2020 from the Singer Laren Museum two weeks after the forced closure due to the pandemic. Nils had entered around 3 a.m., smashing the reinforced glass doors with a sledgehammer, only to leave with the stolen artwork a few minutes later. The painting, on loan from the Groningen Museum, was insured for a value of $ 2.9 million.
Frans Hals “Two smiling boys with a jug” (1626)
Five months later, on August 26, again at 3 am, Nils broke into the Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in Leerdam, stealing the work of Frans Hals which, according to the museum itself, is worth 18.7 million dollars and had already been stolen (and found) in 1988 and 2011.
The Dutch police will now have to investigate to track down the two works, a task far from simple given that Nills totally denies his involvement in the heists.
What we do know, however, is that allegedly the Van Gogh was bought by Peter Roy K., a Dutch drug kingpin, who would want to use the painting as a “ransom” to get a penalty discount.