Europe

Greek police recover stolen Olympia antiquities

  • 25 November 2012
  • From the section Europe
Recovered objects stolen from a museum in Olympia, Greece in February (24 Nov)
Image caption All 76 artefacts stolen in February were successfully recovered

Greek police have recovered all the antiquities stolen in February from a museum in Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics.

Three men were arrested in the western city of Patras when they tried to sell the most valuable artefact - a gold ring - to an undercover police officer.

During the robbery, two masked men smashed display cabinets and overpowered a guard, officials said.

Greece has cut museum staffing as part of austerity measures.

One of the suspects tried to sell the gold ring - dating from the late Bronze Age, around 3,200 years ago - to a police officer posing as a potential buyer, officials said.

The original asking price had been 1.5m euros (£1.2m) but the price dropped to 300,000 euros.

Police recovered all the other stolen items, which had been wrapped in a sack and buried in a field in a village near Patras.

The antiquities will be returned to the museum next week.

The mayor of Olympia said at the time of the robbery that there was a direct link with the policy of cuts and Greece's economic crisis.

Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos offered his resignation but it was not accepted.

The robbery was an embarrassment for the Greek authorities, coming just weeks after the theft of a Picasso painting and other works from the Athens National Gallery.

More on this story