THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A painting by 17th-century Dutch artist Frans Hals has been stolen — for the third time — from a provincial museum in the central Netherlands.
Police said Thursday that “Two Laughing Boys” was stolen early Wednesday from the Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in Leerdam, 60 kilometers (about 35 miles) south of Amsterdam.
The museum declined comment, referring questions to the police.
A statement issued by police said the museum's alarm went off around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and officers found that a rear door had been forced.
According to police, the same Hals painting was stolen in 1988 together with a work by Jacob van Ruisdael. Both were recovered three years later. In 2011, both paintings were again stolen and recovered six months later. Further details of the earlier thefts weren't immediately available.