Due to a gap in Dutch law, two thieves that stole from the Van Gogh Museum will legally own the stolen goods in 10 years!
The Vincent Van Gogh Museum is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands and has the largest collection of the Dutch artist’s work. Van Gogh is one of the most recognized painters of the 19th century and the museum attracts more than 1 million visitors annually. It also attracts thieves who want to make a profit from his paintings by selling them on the black market or holding them for ransom.
Two thieves stole 20 paintings from the museum in 1991; each valuing $10 million. Van Gogh’s most celebrated work, “Sunflowers,” was one of the paintings stolen. Incredibly, all 20 paintings were recovered in the abandoned getaway car a few hours later. Then in 2002, two thieves broke into the museum and stole two paintings valued at $3 million. They were caught 4 years later, tried and sentenced to prison.
The paintings haven’t been recovered, and due to a gap in Dutch law, could work in the thieves’ favor if they’ve stashed them somewhere. Dutch law states that an art thief has legal ownership of stolen private art after 20 years and 30 years for publicly owned stolen art. However, to take advantage of this loophole, they need to prove they were the ones who stole the artwork.