Stolen Van Gogh painting handed over in an Ikea bag

A Van Gogh painting stolen from a Dutch museum in March 2020 is back in safe hands after a three-and-a-half-year quest to recover it, SIA reports with reference to foreign media.

Dutch art detective Arthur Brand said he had been handed the 139-year-old painting in a pillow and an Ikea bag by a man who came to his front door.

"I did this in complete co-ordination with Dutch police and we knew this guy wasn't involved in the theft," the man said.

In 2021, a career criminal was jailed for eight years over the incident.

But by then the painting, worth several million euros, had already changed hands.

The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring was initially stolen from the Dutch town of Laren, to the south-east of Amsterdam. The thief smashed through two glass doors at the Singer museum with a sledgehammer, at the start of the coronavirus lockdown. It had been on loan from a museum in the north-eastern city of Groningen which has hailed the work's recovery as "wonderful news".

The French-born thief, 59-year-old Nils M, who lived a short distance away from Laren, was convicted of stealing the work as well as a Frans Hals painting a few months later from a museum in Leerdam, near Utrecht. His DNA was found at both crime scenes.

According to communications intercepted by police, the Van Gogh painting from 1884, also known as Spring Garden, had been acquired by a crime group intending to use it in exchange for shorter jail terms.

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