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WORLD : Stolen Van Gogh Returned to Dutch Museum as Incentive for Ransom

<i> From Times wire services </i>

Thieves have returned one of three Vincent van Gogh paintings they stole from a museum in the hope of obtaining a $2.5-million ransom, police said today.

No ransom was paid for “The Loom,” which was taken from the Kroeller-Mueller National Museum in December and recovered unharmed April 6 from the trunk of a car parked near the home of the museum’s director, police spokesman Theo Reus said.

The return of the painting and dealings with the thieves had been kept secret but police decided to publicize the events today because a newspaper learned of the negotiations, Reus said.

The thieves returned “The Loom” to prove they possessed the two other stolen art works, “Wilted Sunflowers” and an early version of “The Potato Eaters.”

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Reus said no ransom has been paid and the whereabouts of the remaining two paintings is unknown. The total value of the three works has been estimated at $100 million to $125 million.


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