Footage shows thief using sledgehammer to steal Van Gogh painting


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Video footage shows how a sledgehammer-wielding thief broke into a museum in the Netherlands and walked off with a painting by Vincent van Gogh.
“The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” was stolen from the Singer Laren museum in the town of Laren, just outside Amsterdam, on March 30, and the footage shows the suspect arriving outside the museum on a motorbike.

Viewers can see the thief smashing through two glass doors with a sledgehammer, and later leaving with the artwork under their right arm.

The thief had to bypass other security systems to reach the painting, a spokeswoman for Dutch police told CNN on Thursday, but investigators have decided not to release that footage at this stage.

The burglar can be seen smashing two glass doors to enter the museum. Credit: Opsporing Verzocht/YouTube

No arrests have been made and the painting is still missing, said the spokeswoman.

Dutch police tweeted that they received 56 tips as a result of the broadcast, which went out on a crime show on the NPO2 channel Wednesday.

CNN has contacted the Singer Laren museum, which is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, for comment on the footage.

The painting — created by the Dutch master in 1884 — was on loan from another art institution, the Groninger Museum in the city of Groningen. A police statement at the time said that the theft took place at around 3:15 a.m. local time, and that intruders entered the premises by breaking through a glass door.

“I am shocked and unbelievably pissed off,” museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said during a press conference on March 30. “It is very bad for the Groninger Museum. It’s also very bad for Singer.”

“But above all it is horrible for all of us, because art is there to be seen and shared by all of us, for society as a whole, to bring enjoyment, to bring inspiration, and also to bring comfort. Especially in this difficult time,” he added.

The painting was created in the town of Nuenen, where Van Gogh stayed with his parents between 1883 and 1885. It depicts the garden of the parsonage they lived in and where his father served as pastor. It also shows the ruins of an old church that featured in a number of other Van Gogh works from the period.

Police said that painting has now been added to Interpol’s stolen art database.

The Singer Laren museum announced its temporary closure on March 13, shortly after the country’s government announced a ban on large gatherings and shuttered the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Read more at CNN.com