Italian police recover Van Gogh paintings stolen from an Amsterdam museum in 2002

Van Gogh paintings have been recovered in Italy after being stolen 14 years ago.
(Image credit: MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images)

After 14 long years, authorities have cracked the case of the missing Vincent van Gogh paintings. Two paintings by the famous Dutch artist were stolen during a heist at an Amsterdam museum in 2002, and they were finally found by Italian authorities "wrapped in cloth in a safe in a house in the picturesque seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia, near Pompeii," BBC reported. Italian authorities uncovered the paintings' location after an extensive investigation into the Amato Pagano clan of the Camorra Mafia family, a clan Italian prosecutors described as "one of the most dangerous and active crime groups among the Camorra gangs of the territory."

The paintings, "Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen" (1884/85) and "Seascape at Scheveningen" (1882), were given a combined estimated value of $30 million when they were listed on the FBI's "top ten art crimes" list in 2005, CNN reported. The burglars managed to swipe the paintings after climbing onto the museum's roof with a ladder, breaking a window, and then using a rope to escape the building once they'd snagged the Van Goghs.

Both paintings were found without their frames, but were in "relatively good condition." Because the two paintings are being used as evidence in a criminal trial in Italy, it is not yet clear when they will finally head home to the Netherlands.

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