Four years in prison for failed Monet theft from Zaans Museum
On Tuesday, the court in Alkmaar sentenced 49-year-old Henk B. to four years in prison for the failed theft of a painting by Claude Monet from the Zaans Museum in Zaandam. The sentence is equal to what the Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded.
On August 15 last year, in broad daylight, while the museum was open, B. took the work De Voorzaan en de Westerhern by the famous French impressionist from the wall and ran outside with it.
An accomplice on a scooter waited for him outside. The accomplice fired a few gunshots to scare off bystanders and museum employees who cased B. down. It didn't work as planned. Bystanders took the precious painting from B. and took it to safety. The attempted art thieves got away with nothing. The court also found B. guilty of threats of violence.
During the trial, B. explained in detail the pressure that forced him to commit this act. He said he was criminally indebted, and his creditors forced him to steal the painting.
The painting was damaged in the attempted theft. It has since been restored but has not yet been returned to the museum. The Zaans Museum bought the painting in 2015 for approximately 1.5 million euros.
In 2002, B. stole two paintings from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam with an accomplice. The works surfaced in Italy at the end of September 2016 during an investigation into the mafia in Naples. In 2005, B. was sentenced on appeal to three years and two months in prison for that art theft.
The Public Prosecution Service has yet to decide whether to prosecute his alleged accomplice, arrested in January. The man from Purmerend was released after questioning.
Reporting by ANP