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Thieves have taken advantage of the distraction provided by the public health situation to steal a prize vincent van Gogh Painting from a museum in the Netherlands. Undercover of darkness, the bandits targeted the Singer Laren museum in Laren, east of Amsterdam, and made off with the Dutch master’s The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) while the institution was closed to the public.

“I am extremely pissed off that this happened,” the museum’s director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said at a press conference on Monday. “This is a huge blow. This is extremely difficult, especially in these times.”

The break-in at the museum happened in the early hours of Monday morning, at around 3:15 a.m. The thieves smashed a large glass door at the front of the museum to access the building. Police reached the scene after the museum’s alarm was triggered, but the perpetrators had varnished by the time they arrived, according to a statement from the local authorities.

To add insult to injury, the painting does not even belong to the museum – it was on loan from the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands, according to the police. The 1884 work was the only painting by Van Gogh in the Groninger Museum’s collection. It was painted When Van Gogh was living in Neunen, where his father was a pastor, between 1883 and 1885, and depicts the ruins of the village church, which the artists could see from his father’s house. (The date of the left also happens to be the artist’s birthday: he was born on March 30,1853.)

“The Groninger Museum is Shocked by the news,” the museum said in a statement. A spokesperson declined to comment further, citing the police investigation.

Police are investigating a break-in at a Dutch art museum that is currently closed because of restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, the museum and police said Monday.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any paintings or other networks were stolen in the heist in the early hours of Monday morning at Singer Laren museum East of Amsterdam.

Before the closure, the museum was hosting an exhibition titled “Mirror of the Soul” with works by artists ranging from Toorop to Mondrian, in cooperation with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

The museum houses the collection of American couple William and Anna Singer, with a focus on modernism such as neo-impressionism, pointillism, expressionism, and cubism.

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