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AMSTERDAM - “Some people are born teachers. Some people are born footballers. I’m a born burglar.” So says Octave Durham, who stole two priceless Vincent van Gogh*” paintings on the evening of Dec. 7, 2002.
More than 14 years after he and an accomplice* clambered onto the roof of the Van Gogh Museum here, broke a window with a sledgehammer and lifted the canvases off the wall, Mr. Durham has finally come clean about his involvement in one of the most infamous postwar art heists*.
He did so in a 45-minute documentary that will show on Dutch television on Tuesday, the same day the museum plans to return the two canvases — recovered in September from the home of an Italian mobster’s mother — to public view.
The confession has no legal impact for Mr. Durham, who was <A-1>convicted in 2004 and served just over 25 months in prison, but it sheds ( あ ) on the paintings’ tortuous* journey and ultimate rescue, and on the intersection of art theft and organized crime.
“The heist took about 3 minutes and 40 seconds,” Mr. Durham says in the documentary. “When I was done, the police were there, and I was passing by with my getaway car. Took my ski mask off, window down, and I was looking at them.”
He adds: “I could hear them on my police scanner. They didn’t know it was me.”
The works are of inestimable* value because they have never <A-2> been to market: “View of the Sea at Scheveningen” (1882) is one of only two seascapes* van Gogh painted during his years in the Netherlands, and “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen” (1882-84), showing the church where the artist’s father was a pastor*, was a gift to the artist’s mother.
Prices for van Gogh landscape paintings at auction range from about $10 million to about $70 million.
But Mr. Durham did not know the historical background of the paintings. He said the paintings were the smallest ones in the gallery he targeted, and closest to the hole through which he entered. He <A-3> stuffed them into a bag, and escaped by sliding down a rope he and his accomplice had put in place. When he hit the ground, he came down so hard that he smashed the seascape, chipping the paint.
Later, Mr. Durham and his accomplice, Henk Bieslijn, contacted an Italian mobster*, Raffaele Imperiale, who at the time sold marijuana out of a “coffee shop” in Amsterdam. He agreed to buy the two paintings in March 2003 for around 350,000 euros (roughly $380,000), divided equally between the thieves.
Last September, Italian investigators raided Mr. Imperiale’s mother’s home near Naples, where the works were wrapped in cloth and tucked away in a hidden wall space next to the kitchen. The recovery of the works made global （ い ）.
- Vincent van Gogh: オランダの画家、ヴィンセント・ヴァン・ゴッホ。炎の画家と呼ばれる
- accomplice: 共犯者
- heist: 強盗。burglaryに同じ
- torturous: 「強い痛みを伴う拷問」という形容詞。名詞形はtorture「拷問」
- inestimable: 動詞「推測する」estimateを形容詞にして否定形にしたもの。「価値の計り知れない」。pricelessに同じ
- seascape: sea + scapeで海の風景
- pastor: 牧師
- mobster: マフィアのこと。チンピラを表すgangより組織だった犯罪組織
- Octave Durham cleaned van Gogh paintings which he damaged during burglary.
- Octave Durham persistently kept on denying his role in the burglary.
- Octave Durham maintained his innocence in relation to the burglary.
- Octave Durham finally admitted that he stole van Gogh paintings 14 years ago.
(2) 本文中の（ あ ）に入る最も適切な語を次から1つ選び、記号で答えなさい。
(3) 本文中の（ A ）と同じ意味にするのに最も適切なものを次から1つずつ選び、記号で答えなさい。
- found guilty
- declared innocent
＜A-2＞ been to market
- been left alone
- been for sale
- been clarified
- been on sale
(4) 本文中の（ い ）に入る最も適切な語を次から1つ選び、記号で答えなさい。
- Thieves did not take enough precaution to protect the valuable paintings and damaged one of them.
- Octave Durham stole the van Gogh paintings as he and his accomplice had targeted to steal them for their high values.
- Octave Durham and Henk Bieslijn stole van Gogh paintings and sold them to Raffaele Imperiale for a fair price.
- Henk Bieslijn’s proceed from the burglary was less than $180,000.
- Octave Durham is sorry for being a burglar and remorseful about his past as a thief.
- Octave Durham did not know the value of van Gogh paintings and stole them by chance.
- Octave Durham returned van Gogh paintings to the museum.
- The burglary took only a split second and burglars got away without being caught.