A man was sentenced to four years in prison by a Dutch court Tuesday after a botched attempt to steal a Monet painting last year. The 49-year-old man was not identified by the court. He is accused of having worked with another unnamed person to try to steal the painting last August.
The painting in question was housed at the Zaans Museum in the Dutch city of Zaandam, which bought the work for 1.16 million euros in 2015. Titled De Voorzaan en de Westerhem (1871), the painting dates to Monet’s early period.
According to the North Holland court that sentenced the man, the man walked into the Zaans Museum, pulled the painting off the wall, and tried to leave with it under his arm. Another man was allegedly waiting for him outside the museum. Both were armed, the court said.
While De Voorzaan en de Westerhem’s seascape is neither particularly famous nor very expensive as far as Monets go, the court called it a “unique and therefore irreplaceable canvas by a world-renowned painter.” The painting still cannot be displayed “for security reasons” even after restoration, the court said.
A commotion is believed to have ensued during the botched heist that involved the firing of at least one shot, though no one was hurt. Amid the chaos, the man who took the painting allegedly dropped the canvas while attempting to get away on a motorcycle.
The court called the failed heist a “particularly brutal” one because it took place in broad daylight.
“Because the theft was committed on a Sunday in the summer holidays, many employees and visitors were present in the museum at that time,” the court wrote in its judgement. “The theft, which also included shooting explosions, made a great impression and frightened the employees and visitors present, including children.”