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Thieves make off with rare art treasures from village church

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SWOLGEN – Thieves have made off with centuries-old rare and very valuable art treasures from a Southern Dutch village church. One of the treasures, a tryptich, also had much sentimental value. The three-part painting was made in 1573 for local son, Cologne Bishop Jan Van Swolgen, who donated it to Swolgen’s parish where it has been on display for centuries. The culprits made off with seventeen massive wood carvings, various candlesticks made of copper and silver oil lamps after they forced a side entrance of the Lambertus Church. The theft must have involved several people and a truck since the heavy-weight statues would not be easy to move. Two years ago, a similar and still unresolved robbery occurred in the nearby village of Blitterswijck. Thefts from churches are registered by a foundation, Stichting Kerkelijk Kunstbezit. This record keeping is intended to make sales of stolen artifacts more difficult and to discourage more thefts in the future.