Early Monday, Robbers stole a painting by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh in a daring heist from a museum which was closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The painting of 1884, titled “Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Spring,” was taken at the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam during a pre-dawn break-in.
The robbers broke through a glass door and then took the painting, priced at 6 million euros (6.6 million dollars).
“I am shocked and unbelievably annoyed this theft has happened,” Jan Rudolph de Lorm, one of the museum’s directors, told a press conference.
“Art is there to be seen, to be enjoyed, to inspire and to bring solace, particularly in these troubled times in which we find ourselves,” De Lorm said.
The robbery came on what would be the talented but troubled artist’s 167th birthday.
“Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Spring” comes from a relatively early stage in Van Gogh’s career, before the prolific artist embarked on his trademark post-Impressionist paintings like “Sunflowers” and his colorful self-portraits.
The painting was being loaned as part of an exhibition by its owners, the Groninger Museum in the north of the Netherlands.
Two weeks ago the Singer Laren museum closed in compliance with Dutch government steps aimed at countering COVID-19 spread.
Dutch police said the criminals had broke in the building at around 3:15 am (0115 GMT).
“Police officers immediately rushed to the scene but the perpetrators had escaped,” Dutch police said in a statement, appealing for witnesses.