Olympia Gets Treasures Back

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by Björn Schöpe

November 29, 2012 – In February the Archaeological Museum in Olympia was robbed. A couple of men attacked the only guard, a woman, and stole 76 precious items.
Now they tried to sell a 3,300 year old gold ring in Patras for 1.5 million Euros. The potential buyer beat them down to 300,000 Euros but the deal was not concluded, anyway – the man was an undercover police officer. On Friday, 23 November 2012 three suspect men of Greek nationality were arrested, two accomplices are still being hunted. The stolen objects were buried in a bag in a field nearby Olympia and have been seized by the authorities.

After the robbery international critic arose accusing Greece of economising on the security of its cultural properties and thus enabling thefts and robberies. The Greek Minister of Tourism and Cultural Property resigned at this point.
Now, according to official statements, the successful seizing of the stolen objects and the arrest of the suspect men prove these blames to be baseless. ‘The discovery and arrest of the perpetrators of the robbery and the recovery of the stolen items are a great success,’ said deputy education minister responsible for culture Costas Tzavaras. The objects are said to be restored to the museum in Olympia in the next week already and we can only hope that they will be better protected this time.

You can read our article on the robbery here.

The media reported on the successful police operation, you can read about it for example here.