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VAN GONE

Art detectives go deep inside the criminal underworld on hunt for stolen Van Gogh

AP Photo/Peter Dejong
The damaged front door of the Singer Laren Museum, where Van Gogh's “Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring" was recently pilfered.

When a thief stole a multimillion-dollar painting by Vincent van Gogh from a small museum in the Netherlands last month, Octave Durham almost immediately found himself a person of interest.

“It’s not a coincidence, because most of the time I did it,” Durham, who spent 25 months in prison for his own Van Gogh heist, told Quartz. “But now I’m retired.”

The nighttime smash-and-grab robbery at the Singer Laren Museum, committed in late March while it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, bore many of the hallmarks of Durham’s infamous 2002 burglary at the nearby Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, during which he stole two priceless paintings by the renowned artist. This time, the bandit broke through a pane of glass with a sledgehammer and was in and out in minutes.

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