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Paintings stolen from gallery

THIEVES pried open the emergency door of a small Dutch museum with an iron bar and made off with six 17th- and 19th-century landscape paintings - the second major art heist in 10 days in the Netherlands.

The break-in at 3am on Monday set off an alarm that summoned police within minutes but the burglars had already fled, leaving behind two paintings that they dropped in their haste and damaged, Mark de Kok, a spokesman for the city of IJsselstein, said yesterday.

The paintings included three by Jan Van Goyen, a prolific contemporary of Rembrandt who died in 1656.

The others were a 17th-century painting by Pieter de Neyn and 19th-century pieces by Willem Roelofs and Adrianus van Everdingen.

The damaged works were by Salomon van Ruysdael and Salomon Rombouts.

The paintings, on loan from the Dutch government, were mostly river scenes.

Police seized security cameras, de Kok said. The museum will remain closed until tomorrow.

De Kok declined to put a value on the paintings, saying that could invite ransom demands.

But a Van Goyen was sold by Christie's' in London six months ago for more than US$126,000.


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