Man jailed for stealing valuable Van Gogh and Hals paintings from Dutch museums

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A Dutchman has been jailed for eight years for stealing valuable paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals.

The 59-year-old man was convicted of theft from two small Dutch museums last year and handed the maximum prison sentence.

Neither of the paintings, worth several million euros each, have been recovered.

The court heard how the suspect had stolen the Van Gogh painting “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” from the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam in March 2020.

A few months later, he also snatched the 17th century “Two Laughing Boys” by Hals from the Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in Leerdam.

The Central Netherlands Court said that the Hals painting alone was valued at €16 million euros.

Both artworks were described by the court as "part of the national cultural heritage, they are important for present and future generations".

The 59-year-old suspect was arrested in April this year in Baarn, around ten kilometres from the Singer Laren museum.

He had broken into both museums at night and fled on a motorised scooter, which was driven by an accomplice.

The suspect, who has previously been convicted for a similar art heist, denied involvement.

Authorities found his DNA at both crime scenes.

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