2 Van Gogh paintings recovered by Italian anti-Mafia police


ROME (AP) – Anti-Mafia police in Naples have recovered two Van Gogh paintings stolen from Amsterdam in 2002, the Van Gogh Museum and organized crime investigators said Friday.

The museum in a statement on its website Friday said the paintings, found without their frames, are in “relatively good condition.” It said the two paintings are the 1882 work “Seascape at Scheveningen” and a later work, “Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen.”

Police in Naples said the paintings, of “priceless value,” were discovered during a raid as part of a crackdown against a Naples-based Camorra crime clan suspected of cocaine trafficking. Naples prosecutors said more details will be given later at a news conference in the southern Italian city.

The paintings were sequestered along with other property, worth “tens of millions of euros,” said the police. The Financial Guard, a branch of the Italian police, often sequesters financial assets of suspected criminals.

“After all these years, you no longer dare count on a possible return,” the museum quoted its director Alex Rueger as saying, and expressed gratitude to Italian investigators and police.

The museum said the paintings, inspected by a curator, do show “some damage” and it is unclear when they will return to Amsterdam. The museum director was planning to attend the news conference.

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