On the night of October 12, burglars struck a second military museum in the Netherlands. According to Jan de Jonge, thieves broke into the the War Museum in Ossendrecht. Initially, De Jonge, the owner of the museum, reported that the thieves took WWII relics worth hundreds of thousands of Euros. “SS uniforms, daggers, helmets, emblems, caps, parachutes, firearms, binoculars, you name it. There is nothing more,” De Jonge said. Later, the value of items stolen was increased to one million euros.
After quitting a job in education, De Jong built his original museum in a shed at his family house in the village of Sinoutskerke. When he found a home with a ready space for the museum in Ossendrecht, he moved the entire contents there.
De Jonge discovered the break-in during the afternoon of October 13. The thieves had drilled through the back wall to deactivate the lock. At least 23 mannequins dressed in various Third Reich uniforms and fully equipped with accouterments and firearms were taken. “A showpiece has also been stolen,” De Jonge told the Dutch news outlet, Omroep Brabant, “a German Fallschirmjäger rifle worth 50,000 euros. The firearm is very rare, but in this museum I was able to exhibit it.”
De Jonge had assembled the collection over the last sixty years. Though privately owned, the collection was not insured. De Jonge has filed a report, and the police have started an investigation. No surveillance equipment was in place.
"It's very sad for me. I'm 77-years-old and I collected all my life," de Jonge told As It Happens host Carol Off. "It was fairly difficult to get together. Some have long-time memories, and now that's all lost." De Jonge has filed a report, and the police have started an investigation. The museum is closed until further notice.
Earlier this year, another brazen robbery of a military museum occurred in August when multiple thieves broke into the Eyewitness Museum in Beek, Limburg. Using multiple vehicles, they got away with an estimated EUR 1.5 million worth of historical military artifacts.
While no arrests have been made in either case, speculation suggests that the two robberies are connected.
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