How to steal a Van Gogh

April 24 2020

Video: via The Guardian

Posted by Bendor Grosvenor

The Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands has released a video of the theft of a painting by Van Gogh. The painting, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884, was stolen on 30th March. You can see in the video that the thief just walks out with the painting under his arm.

When I wrote about the theft in the Sunday Times, shortly after it happened, I speculated that all the thief had required was a hammer, and a getaway car. It turns out I was wrong - all he needed was a hammer and a scooter.

With a succession of these thefts at smaller museums now (such as that at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the ChristChurch Picture Gallery in Oxford) it seems museum security needs rethinking. All the alarm systems in the world are pointless if your basic defenses are so weak. Too many museums rely on the police coming to their aid, and have dispensed with on-site security staff. But if small paintings can be whisked away in seconds, on motorbikes, it's unrealistic to always expect the police to arrive at a museum in time. 

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