Dutch man gets four years in prison for theft attempt of a Monet
A Dutch court sentenced a man to four years in prison for a botched attempt to steal a Claude Monet painting last year.
A Dutch court sentenced a man to four years in prison on Tuesday for a bungled attempt to steal a Claude Monet painting last year. The court did not identify the 49-year-old man. He is accused of conspiring with another unnamed individual to take the picture in August.
The picture in question was owned by the Zaans Museum in the Dutch city of Zaandam, which purchased it in 2015 for 1.16 million euros. The picture, titled De Voorzaan en de Westerham (1871), is from Monet's early years.
According to the North Holland court that issued a conviction, the man walked into the Zaans Museum, yanked the painting off the wall, and attempted to flee with it under his arm. A second man was said to be waiting for him outside the museum. According to the court, both were armed.
While De Voorzaan en de Westerhem's seascape is not particularly well-known or pricey in terms of Monets, the court described it as a "unique and thereby valuable painting by a world-renowned painter." Even after restoration, the picture cannot be exposed "for security considerations," according to the court.
A ruckus is alleged to have occurred during the bungled theft, which involved at least one shot, however, no one was injured. During the turmoil, the man who stole the painting is said to have dropped the canvas while attempting to flee on a motorcycle.
The unsuccessful heist was labeled "especially violent" by the court because it occurred 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 judgment. “The theft, which also included shooting explosions, made a great impression and frightened the employees and visitors present, including children.”