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Vincent van Gogh's painting The Church of Nuenen with churchgoers is one of over 850 well-known oil paintings by the Dutch master and co-founder of modern painting. Van Gogh is said to have painted the artwork for his parents in 1884, since his father had been a pastor in this church two years earlier. The oil painting has the dimensions 41.3 x 32.1 cm. In the early morning hours of December 7, 2002, another painting was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and reappeared during a drug raid in Naples.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 7th, 2002, thieves penetrate through the roof of the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum. At 8 a.m. in the morning, museum employees notice the loss - two hours before the museum opens its doors. After the police rushes in, the museum is closed to the public until the afternoon for evidence.
The police are astonished because there are security guards who control the premises and the surrounding museum area 24 hours a day. There are also video cameras and infrared systems in the museum with the world's largest collection of Van Gogh's works. The police find a broken window on the first floor of the building, a rope and a 4.5m ladder. The thieves presumably reached the roof with the ladder and then roped off a window on the first floor.
The theft is particularly bitter for the Van Gogh Museum if the paintings “The Church of Nuenen with churchgoers” (1884) and “Beach of Scheveningen in stormy weather” (1882) do not reappear: the two stolen paintings are not insured. The value of the paintings in 2002 was 30 million euros.
A raid by the Italian financial authorities was carried out in Naples at the end of September 2016 in the house of drug boss Raffaele Imperiale, who has been in custody since February 2016. The investigators came across two unusual objects: two oil paintings were discovered, rolled up without a frame.
Later it turned out that the oil paintings are the lost works "Beach of Scheveningen" (1882) and "The Church of Nuenen with churchgoers" (1884) by Vincent van Gogh. The value of both paintings is estimated at $ 100 million - an increase in value of 500% in 14 years.