Crime is down in many major cities amid lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus, but at least one band of art thieves felt particularly emboldened late last night. Vincent Van Gogh‘s 1884 painting “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” was stolen from the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands while the museum was shuttered.
“I am shocked and unbelievably pissed off,” said museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm during a press conference according to CNN.
“Above all, it is horrible for all of us, because art is there to be seen and shared by all of us, for society as a whole, to bring enjoyment, to bring inspiration, and also to bring comfort,” de Lorm said. “Especially in this difficult time.”
A group of thieves pulled off the heist at around 3:15 a.m. on Monday morning. They smashed a glass door at the museum and took off with the painting. The museum’s alarm was triggered, but by the time police responded, the work was gone. Authorities are reviewing video footage.
The work is a 25 x 57 cm oil painting on paper. It depicts a ruined church that Van Gogh could see from his father’s window in Nuenen in the Netherlands. Among Van Gogh’s earlier works, the painting was completed a few years before he moved to Paris and developed his signature style.
Though, the heist might have been an outlier. Crimes rates in cities like London and New York have dropped since social distancing orders were put into place, and there have been no reports of general looting.