A Dutch man has been arrested in connection with two high-profile art heists that took place in 2020. On Tuesday, members of the police in the Netherlands detained a man at his home in Baarn, a small town the Dutch countryside near Utrecht, on suspicion that he stole highly valued works by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals last year. Those paintings have still not yet been recovered.
The works, van Gogh’s The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) and Hals’s Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer (ca. 1626–27), were stolen from the Singer Laren museum and the Hofje van Aerden museum in Leerdam, both in the Netherlands, respectively. The van Gogh was stolen in March 2020, just after the coronavirus lockdown began in the country, and had been on loan from the Groninger Museum. The Hals painting, which has been the subject of two prior heists as well (in 1988 and 2011), was taken in August.
“For months, intensive research was conducted into the robbery of both paintings,” the Politie, the Dutch police force, said in a statement. “This has led to the arrest of a 58-year-old suspect from Baarn. He was arrested at his home this morning. The man is suspected of stealing the paintings.”
The police did not release the suspect’s name and so far have not share any details about the whereabouts of the paintings. Neither the Groninger Museum nor the Singer Laren has placed a value on the van Gogh painting, but the Hals canvas is believed to be worth $17.7 million.
“The search continues,” the Politie statement said.