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January 9th, 2012

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December 13th, 2011

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October 6th, 2011

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September 5th, 2011

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Il colpo della Pieve - Citta della Spezia :: Cultura e Spettacolo - La Spezia
http://www.cittadellaspezia.com/La-Spezia/Cultura-e-Spettacolo/Il-colpo-della-Pieve-92437.aspx

September 4, 2011

La Spezia. Questo è un poliziesco e la prima scena è quella del
delitto. Dunque è notte, piove e fa freddo. Suona come un cliché vero?
Ma il fatto è che nella notte tra il 28 febbraio e il 1 marzo 1974
alla Spezia piove e fa freddo veramente e d'altra parte non ci vuole
un grande sforzo per immaginarsi una nottata di fine inverno gelida e
umida sul golfo. Il quartiere della Pieve dorme, anche se ancora per
almeno vent'anni la linea ferroviaria marittima passerà sotto il naso
dei suoi abitanti con un viavai di ferro ruotato giorno e notte. Un
quartiere recente, soprattutto di edilizia popolare, che cola
blandamente dalla collina, ma i palazzi residenziali sono stretti tra
due gioielli del passato antico. In alto c'è la villa settecentesca
dei marchesi Da Passano che almeno dal '400 possedevano tutto quello
che da là in alto si riesce a vedere fino al mare. In basso c'è la
Pieve di San Venerio che è immutata da un migliaio di anni e che prima
era la terra di un colono romano, arrivato insieme a tanti altri a
costruire la città di Luni, e che ancora prima era un villaggio ligure
che commerciava ceramica e chissà cos'altro con gli Etruschi.
Attaccato alla chiesa c'è un camposanto altrettanto antico e dentro ci
sono due individui che hanno appena scavalcato il muro e si guardano
attorno in un silenzio eccessivo persino per il luogo. Uno dei due si
anima d'improvviso, punta una parete buia di loculi e ne torna con una
scala di legno. La posa contro il muro dell'oratorio dedicato a San
Rocco attiguo alla chiesa, giusto sotto una finestrella. Salgono e
forzano la misera serratura, sono dentro l'edificio adesso e da lì
accedono alla chiesa. Escono in pochi secondo con una tavola di legno
di circa un metro e mezzo per sessanta centimetri avvolta in una
coperta, prima di uscire hanno ripulito le proprie orme fangose.
Così scomparve l'unica opera conosciuta di Giacomo Spinolotto, una
“Madonna in trono col bambino” datata 1476 dipinta su una tavola di
legno, con una parte completamente dorata. Forse non una pietra
miliare della storia dell'arte, ma comunque un dipinto molto
importante per la nostra città. Lo Spinolotto infatti è il primo
artista cittadino, che si ricordi nei documenti dell'Archivio Storico,
a vivere solo ed esclusivamente di pennello, pagato dal Podestà della
Spezia (e Vicario della Riviera Orientale) e dalle famiglie nobili per
mettere la propria arte a servizio della devozione religiosa o della
decorazione pubblica e privata. Un furto su commissione, concludono
gli inquirenti: chi non abbia dimestichezza con la storia dell'arte
non pagherebbe cifre tali da giustificare il rischio del colpo.
Oltretutto la precisione delle mosse dei ladri farebbe pensare a
persone che conoscano bene la zona e l'edificio. Forse la tavola della
Madonna campeggierà sopra il camino di qualche collezionista disonesto
o finirà in una soffitta magari sostituita dal successivo capriccio di
un “galantuomo”.

Passano 33 anni e Giacomo Spinolotto se lo sono dimenticati quasi
tutti, così come la sua ultima opera conosciuta. Tutti tranne Fabrizio
Rossi, un maresciallo dei Carabinieri che si occupa di furti di opere
d'arte. E' bravo a fare il suo lavoro e viene chiamato a Lione dove
c'è il Dipartimento Opere d'Arte dell'Interpol, perché il mercato
dell'arte rubata è un fatto internazionale che fa girare tanti soldi.
Solo in Italia spariscono 15.000 oggetti l'anno e in questa classifica
veniamo dopo la Francia e ce la giochiamo da pari con Germania, Russia
e Polonia. Il 15 novembre 2007 Rossi sta sfogliando un catalogo di
un'importante casa d'aste che sta per battere dei pezzi d'arte a
Torino. Sotto la tabella “Scuola spagnola del XV secolo” spunta la
foto della Madonna dello Spinolotto, non può che essere lei! Il
carabiniere se la ricorda bene, perché ha curato personalmente la
scheda per l'inserimento del dipinto nel database della polizia
europea e soprattutto perché La Spezia è la sua città natale e forse
l'idea di restituirle prima o poi quel pezzo di storia non l'ha mai
abbandonato. Scatta subito il sequestro, la perizia conferma che
l'opera è proprio quella e d'altra parte l'iscrizione autografa non
lascia dubbi: “JACOBUS SPINOLOTUS DE SPEDIA PINXIT, 1476”.

Dal 2008 la tavola è esposta al Museo Diocesano e se potesse parlare
chissà cosa ci racconterebbe di questo trentennio di esilio.

September 4th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

Il colpo della Pieve - Citta della Spezia :: Cultura e Spettacolo - La Spezia
http://www.cittadellaspezia.com/La-Spezia/Cultura-e-Spettacolo/Il-colpo-della-Pieve-92437.aspx

September 4, 2011

La Spezia. Questo è un poliziesco e la prima scena è quella del
delitto. Dunque è notte, piove e fa freddo. Suona come un cliché vero?
Ma il fatto è che nella notte tra il 28 febbraio e il 1 marzo 1974
alla Spezia piove e fa freddo veramente e d'altra parte non ci vuole
un grande sforzo per immaginarsi una nottata di fine inverno gelida e
umida sul golfo. Il quartiere della Pieve dorme, anche se ancora per
almeno vent'anni la linea ferroviaria marittima passerà sotto il naso
dei suoi abitanti con un viavai di ferro ruotato giorno e notte. Un
quartiere recente, soprattutto di edilizia popolare, che cola
blandamente dalla collina, ma i palazzi residenziali sono stretti tra
due gioielli del passato antico. In alto c'è la villa settecentesca
dei marchesi Da Passano che almeno dal '400 possedevano tutto quello
che da là in alto si riesce a vedere fino al mare. In basso c'è la
Pieve di San Venerio che è immutata da un migliaio di anni e che prima
era la terra di un colono romano, arrivato insieme a tanti altri a
costruire la città di Luni, e che ancora prima era un villaggio ligure
che commerciava ceramica e chissà cos'altro con gli Etruschi.
Attaccato alla chiesa c'è un camposanto altrettanto antico e dentro ci
sono due individui che hanno appena scavalcato il muro e si guardano
attorno in un silenzio eccessivo persino per il luogo. Uno dei due si
anima d'improvviso, punta una parete buia di loculi e ne torna con una
scala di legno. La posa contro il muro dell'oratorio dedicato a San
Rocco attiguo alla chiesa, giusto sotto una finestrella. Salgono e
forzano la misera serratura, sono dentro l'edificio adesso e da lì
accedono alla chiesa. Escono in pochi secondo con una tavola di legno
di circa un metro e mezzo per sessanta centimetri avvolta in una
coperta, prima di uscire hanno ripulito le proprie orme fangose.
Così scomparve l'unica opera conosciuta di Giacomo Spinolotto, una
“Madonna in trono col bambino” datata 1476 dipinta su una tavola di
legno, con una parte completamente dorata. Forse non una pietra
miliare della storia dell'arte, ma comunque un dipinto molto
importante per la nostra città. Lo Spinolotto infatti è il primo
artista cittadino, che si ricordi nei documenti dell'Archivio Storico,
a vivere solo ed esclusivamente di pennello, pagato dal Podestà della
Spezia (e Vicario della Riviera Orientale) e dalle famiglie nobili per
mettere la propria arte a servizio della devozione religiosa o della
decorazione pubblica e privata. Un furto su commissione, concludono
gli inquirenti: chi non abbia dimestichezza con la storia dell'arte
non pagherebbe cifre tali da giustificare il rischio del colpo.
Oltretutto la precisione delle mosse dei ladri farebbe pensare a
persone che conoscano bene la zona e l'edificio. Forse la tavola della
Madonna campeggierà sopra il camino di qualche collezionista disonesto
o finirà in una soffitta magari sostituita dal successivo capriccio di
un “galantuomo”.

Passano 33 anni e Giacomo Spinolotto se lo sono dimenticati quasi
tutti, così come la sua ultima opera conosciuta. Tutti tranne Fabrizio
Rossi, un maresciallo dei Carabinieri che si occupa di furti di opere
d'arte. E' bravo a fare il suo lavoro e viene chiamato a Lione dove
c'è il Dipartimento Opere d'Arte dell'Interpol, perché il mercato
dell'arte rubata è un fatto internazionale che fa girare tanti soldi.
Solo in Italia spariscono 15.000 oggetti l'anno e in questa classifica
veniamo dopo la Francia e ce la giochiamo da pari con Germania, Russia
e Polonia. Il 15 novembre 2007 Rossi sta sfogliando un catalogo di
un'importante casa d'aste che sta per battere dei pezzi d'arte a
Torino. Sotto la tabella “Scuola spagnola del XV secolo” spunta la
foto della Madonna dello Spinolotto, non può che essere lei! Il
carabiniere se la ricorda bene, perché ha curato personalmente la
scheda per l'inserimento del dipinto nel database della polizia
europea e soprattutto perché La Spezia è la sua città natale e forse
l'idea di restituirle prima o poi quel pezzo di storia non l'ha mai
abbandonato. Scatta subito il sequestro, la perizia conferma che
l'opera è proprio quella e d'altra parte l'iscrizione autografa non
lascia dubbi: “JACOBUS SPINOLOTUS DE SPEDIA PINXIT, 1476”.

Dal 2008 la tavola è esposta al Museo Diocesano e se potesse parlare
chissà cosa ci racconterebbe di questo trentennio di esilio.

September 4th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

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August 29th, 2011

Posted In: African Affairs, religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

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August 15th, 2011

Posted In: library theft, religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

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August 14th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

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August 2nd, 2011

Posted In: library theft, religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

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July 31st, 2011

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July 30th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts, religious artifact theft, theft religious objects

Asalto de arte sacro en Atotonilco, Guanajuato.

San Miguel de Allende, Gto.- Una cantidad cercana a los 200 mil pesos, fue el botín de los sujetos, que asaltaron a las religiosas encargadas de la casa de ejercicios del Santuario de Jesús Nazareno, en la comunidad de Atotonilco, a quienes amagaron con pistolas para exigirles el dinero.

El suceso ocurrió a medio día del domingo, en el santuario declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO, histórico por ser el lugar donde el Cura Hidalgo recogió el estandarte de la Virgen de Guadalupe que lo acompañó en la lucha de independencia.

La Agencia del Ministerio Público en turno, recibió la denuncia por robo de parte de la religiosa María Magdalena Rocha Rocha, quien trabaja en el santuario y dijo que al estar desempeñando sus labores, llegaron dos o tres personas con armas cortas, quienes le pidieron que les entregara el dinero.

El subprocurador de Justicia de la Región “D”, Miguel Ángel Rangel Zendejas, informó que después, la policía municipal detuvo a Jorge Armando Morales Morales, de 22 años, alias “El Tachas”, domiciliado en la colonia Palmita de Landeta, quien fue identificado por las agraviadas.

Por esta razón, se está integrando la averiguación previa, que en caso de acreditarse la responsabilidad, se ejercitará la acción penal correspondiente.

March 10th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft

4 indicted in Milan Judaica theft.

J’lem District Attorny charges men for stealing, selling judaica
artifacts worth 1 m. Euro from a Milan synagogue.

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office filed an indictment, on
Sunday, against four Jerusalem men for stealing and selling judaica
artifacts worth upward of one million Euro from a synagogue in Milan
earlier this month.

Two of the men, 22-year-old Meir Mualem and 21-year-old Meir
Yerushalmi, were indicted on charges of theft, impersonation and
conspiring to commit a crime for their part of the heist.

RELATED:
US lawyer gets jail in Dead Sea Scrolls case
Two arrested for allegedly stealing 30 Torah scrolls
Thousands attend funeral for 11 burnt Torah scrolls

According to the indictment, Mualem lifted the artifacts, silver Torah
crowns, rimmonim and other silver and gold objects, from the Torah Ark
in the synagogue, while Yerushalmi distracted synagogue staff. The two
then flew back to Israel with the goods, planning to sell them as
their own. When asked at the customs inspection what they were doing
with the objects, the men told the inspector that the artifacts were
damaged and that they planned to have them fixed.

Upon arriving in Israel, the two men were met at the airport by the
third suspect, 23-year-old Netanel Saadon. On the way to Jerusalem the
men contacted an art dealer by the name of Haim Stefansky and arranged
for him to come and inspect part of the goods.

Saadon, together with the fourth suspect, Yosef Haim Mualem, Meir’s
brother, met with the art dealer at the Ramada hotel, introducing
themselves under false names.

Later that evening the sides arranged to meet again in Modiin Illit so
that Stefansky could take some of the goods to be appraised. When they
met, Stefansky gave Saadon $70,000 and some of his own artifacts to
keep in deposit.

According to the indictment, Stefansky and Mualem conducted a
negotiation over the final price over the phone and the two agreed on
$285,000 for the whole set of goods.

In order to write up the contract, Stefansky asked Saadon for his
identification number. Saadon ordered a false ID card made for him
under the name Jonathan Hadad, and gave Stefansky the false number.

Stefansky learned that the goods were stolen, after the Italian rabbi
alerted art dealers of the theft.

Upon learning that the goods were stolen Stefansky requested to cancel
the deal and met with Saadon to make the exchange. According to the
indictment, Saadon returned the artifacts, but not the money.

Saadon and Yosef Mualem have been charged with impersonation and
forgery and all four have been charged with money laundering and
receiving goods under false pretenses.

In its request to have the suspects held until the end of legal
proceedings, the district attorney’s office wrote that the men had
confessed to the acts and that the reason they wanted them behind bars
was because they presented a danger to the public.

February 13th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Church must beef up security – Cyprus Mail.

POLICE CHIEF Michalis Papageorgiou has called on Archbishop
Chrysostomos II to take immediate steps to protect church relics and
antique icons, given a recent spate of thefts of churches and
monasteries.
Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos yesterday confirmed that
Papageorgiou sent the primate a letter on the first of this month,
asking the head of the Cyprus Church to take effective measures to
protect church cultural heritage and valuable relics and icons.
The aim of the letter is to encourage the church to take measures to
protect against the illegal trade in antiquities.
According to yesterday’s Phileleftheros, in the last two months, five
robberies of churches and monasteries resulted in the theft of
valuable icons and church items. Just this past week, ancient
byzantine icons were stolen from Ayios Georgios in Xylophagou, said
the paper.
Meanwhile, last Friday around €24,000 worth of religious icons were
stolen from a church in the Paphos area with the oldest one dating all
the way back to 1779.
According to police reports the robbery took place between 10am and
4pm. The thieves escaped with an icon of John the Baptist dating back
to 1779 and worth €10,000, one of Jesus Christ dating back to 1860
worth €7,000 and another one dating back to the same year of the
Virgin Mary, also worth €7,000.
In his letter to the archbishop, the police chief noted that almost
none of the holy places owned and operated by the church are protected
with modern security systems, making them vulnerable to theft,
particularly by those involved in the illicit trade in antiquities.
The situation is even more dangerous for out of the way, isolated
small churches which are rarely visited or maintained even by priests.
Papageorgiou called on the archbishop to instruct all churches and
monasteries to take a number of measures to protect themselves from
opportunists.
These include lighting up the perimeter of churches and monasteries,
sealing them with modern locks and installing alarm systems.
Also, the church should remove all valuable items such as ancient
relics or icons and put them in museums where they can be better
protected.
The police chief called for all holy places to be checked on a daily
basis by priests or others, to avoid situations where police discover
ten days after the incident that a church has been robbed.
Finally, the archbishop was advised to create an archive of all
religious icons and items of significant value to make it easier for
police to recognise and identify those items.

February 11th, 2011

Posted In: Cyprus, religious artifact theft

AGI News On – 75 WORKS OF ART STOLEN IN EMILIA ROMAGNA IN 2010.

Bologna – As many as 75 works of art were stolen in region
Emilia Romagna in 2010, most of them from churches. It was announced
by the Carabinieri’s special cultural heritage protection unit.
Forty-four of the 75 stolen items were stolen from churches, 13 more
than in 2009. The number of items stolen from other places is in line
with thefts reported in previous years and include 1 from a museum, 1
from a public body, and 29 from private homes. None of the 75 works of
art had high artistic value . .

February 11th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft

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February 10th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Historic sundial stolen from Gresford church
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/people_and_places/relig…
The sundial had stood outside Gresford’s All Saints church since 1732

A 300-year-old sundial has been stolen from outside historic All Saints’ Church in Gresford, near Wrexham.

It is thought the sundial, which had been a feature at the church since 1732, was stolen some time during the evening of 7 October.

It was removed from a stone plinth which also suffered damage during the theft.

Michael Crumplin, a church warden at All Saints, said: “I feel, as anyone would, very shocked by the vandalism and unkindness of such an act to a place of worship and charitable doing.

“And it’s such a special place. Most of this church was rebuilt in the late 15th Century and it has a beautiful interior with many good stained glass windows dating from the time of Henry VII and many fine and interesting memorials.”

It’s not the only incident at the church in the past few months as lead has also been taken from the roof on more than one occasion.

All Saints Church in Gresford has suffered other thefts recently
“It seems to be an increasing problem. We’ve had two thefts of lead recently from the roof and insurance is difficult,” said Mr Crumplin.

Despite this, he thinks the church should remain open to the public: “Our parish vicar, Father Tudor Hughes, has been keen to have an open church, I think rightly, and that will occasionally invite trouble but there’s nothing worse than going to visit a beautiful church and finding it locked,” he said.

Gresford’s All Saints church dates from the late 13th Century, though there is mention of a church at Gresford in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The church’s bells are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales in the 18th Century poem which features landmarks of north Wales.

Another feature of the churchyard is the Great Yew which dates from around 400AD.

The church is one of 16 in Wrexham which make up the Open Church Network.

The network was set up to encourage visitors to explore the history and architecture of church buildings.

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October 14th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

27 September 2010 Last updated at 08:25 ET
£500 reward for return of stolen Wormshill church items
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-11417536

The antique items had been in the church for at least 150 years
A £500 reward is being offered for the return of antique items stolen from a church in Kent.

The items in St Giles Church, in The Street, Wormshill, near Sittingbourne, had been there for at least 150 years.

They included a heavy brass altar cross and two brass candlesticks, which were on the main altar, and two small brass vases on a side altar.

The reward is being offered by the church warden following the theft between 12 and 19 September.

September 28th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft, reward posted

German court order return of stolen Cypriot treasures
http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus-problem/german-court-order-return-stolen-cypriot-treasures/20100928

By Natali Hami and George Psyllides Published on September 28, 2010

SCORES of valuable religious artefacts looted from churches in the Turkish-occupied north are a step closer to repatriation following the decision of a German court.

Last week, a court in Munich ordered the return of the artefacts stolen by Turkish national Aydin Dikmen, after the invasion of the island in 1974.

Among the recovered antiquities are frescoes from the monastery of Christou tou Antifoniti, dating back to the 15th Century, a 6th-Century mosaic from the church of the Panayia Kanakaria, murals from the church of the Panayia Pergamiotissa and two icons that originated from the monastery of Saint Chrysostomos.

The antiquities had been recovered by Bavarian police in 1997, hidden inside the walls and under the floorboards in two apartments kept by Dikmen in Munich, under false names.

The Church of Cyprus was unable to repatriate the artefacts despite repeated efforts and it was decided to file a civil law suit against Dikmen.

The trial started in April 2009 with the court last week deciding that the Church had succeeded in proving the provenance of the treasures.

But it could be another two months before the case clears.

“The other side has a month to appeal after receiving the full text of the decision,” said senior state attorney Ioannis Lazarou.

It is understood that neither side has the full text yet.

Lazarou said Cyprus had to prove the provenance of the artefacts — first of all that they came from Cyprus; from these specific churches in the occupied areas and that they were in fact there during the invasion.

“This had to be done for each item,” Lazarou said.

The artefacts were discovered after a raid on October 10, 1997.

Dikmen was arrested following an eight-month sting operation in which Dutch art dealer Michael van Rijn cooperated.

He had been videotaped when he tried to sell the treasures.

Van Rijn cooperated with the police but later refused to testify against Dikmen after he had received death threats.

Many churches in the north of Cyprus have been looted following the invasion and Dikmen seems to have played the main role in selling the artworks stripped from them.

In 1988, Dikmen, Van Rijn, and their associate Robert Fitzgerald sold four Kanakaria moisaics to Indianapolis dealer Peg Goldberg for more that $1 million.

The mosaics were ordered returned to the Church of Cyprus after a 1989 trial in a federal court.

In 1984, Dikmen sold the Menil Foundation of Houston 13th-century frescoes from Ayios Themonianos church near Lysi.

Cypriot authorities approved the purchase on the condition that the frescoes, now displayed in Houston, would eventually be returned to Cyprus.

September 28th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft, restitution

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September 23rd, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Iraq to hold indirect talks with Israel on alleged Torah smuggling
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1585991.php/Iraq-to-hold-indirect-talks-with-Israel-on-alleged-Torah-smuggling

Sep 21, 2010, 13:14 GMT

Baghdad – Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism said Tuesday it would hold talks with Israel through a third party – in the absence of diplomatic relations – to verify whether an ancient Torah scroll was smuggled out of Iraq to the Jewish state.

Iraqi Minister of Tourism Said Qahtan Jubouri told local media that the ministry

is following up on allegations that the rare 18th century copy of the Torah was then sent to the Jewish Archives in the United States for refurbishing before reaching Israel.
Jubouri said evidence that the scroll was smuggled out had yet to be found. But others within the ministry point to Israeli media reports claiming last month that the scroll is in that country as proof that it was indeed transferred illegally.

The US and Israel have agreed to investigate the allegations, Jubouri said.

Reports about the stolen Torah first surfaced in 2003, when the National Museum of Iraq and other establishments were looted during the US-led invasion.

Iraqi authorities have requested that the US return Jewish-Iraqi artifacts taken prior to and after the invasion. The country was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East, but many left Iraq in the 1950s and 1960s to settle in Israel.

September 22nd, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Man arrested for theft of church doors seven years ago
Published on September 11, 2010

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/man-arrested-theft-church-doors-seven-years-ago/20100911

POLICE YESTERDAY arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with a seven-year-old theft of two antique church doors.
According to police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos, unknown assailants broke into the UNESCO-protected church Panayias tis Podithou in Galata between January 19 and 21 in 2003, taking with them two doors leading to the sanctuary.
The sanctuary doors date back to the 18th century and are considered to be of great archaeological, historical and cultural value.
The spokesman said that the 66-year-old was arrested in connection with the theft of the two doors a little after midday following a coordinated month-long operation undertaken by Morphou and Limassol Police.
The 66-year-old had allegedly tried to negotiate the sale of the two doors by contacting via phone the Church Committee in Galata. They in turn contacted police which traced the call to a public phone box. Police put a surveillance team on the phone box, eventually leading to the man’s arrest. Katsounotos said police were investigating some claims made by the suspect regarding possession of the doors. An archaeologist would have to formally identify the church doors though at first instance, they looked to be the real deal, he added.
The 66-year-old will be brought before the Nicosia District Court today for a remand hearing.

September 12th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Thieves steal 3 ancient icons from Moscow Region church
http://en.rian.ru/art_living/20100905/160476364.html

St. Cyril and Mary of Radonezh
19:38 05/09/2010
© RIA Novosti. Yury Kaver

Three icons, one of which contained relics of one of Russia’s most venerated saints, have been stolen from a church in a village north of Moscow, a police source said on Sunday.

The theft was apparently committed on Saturday afternoon. Priests discovered that the icons of St. Sergiy of Radonezh, Elijah the Prophet, and St. Cyril and Mary of Radonezh were missing from the St. Trinity church in Troitse-Seltso after a service.

St. Sergiy of Radonezh lived in the 14th century and is credited with consolidating the Russian Orthodox Church when it was threatened by Mongol rule. Fragments of his relics were contained in his icon.

Police suspect a local of stealing the icons and a search is underway.

MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti)

September 7th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Te Whiti’s stolen mere to return to tomb
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4094655/Te-Whitis-stolen-mere-to-return-to-tomb

The Dominion Post
Last updated 05:00 04/09/2010

SUPPLIED
PRECIOUS RELIC: The greenstone mere back in the right hands after it was found buried in bush and returned to Parihaka Marae. Police are talking to a 35-year-old woman about the theft.
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A priceless mere stolen from Taranaki’s Parihaka Marae will be returned to the tomb of the prophet it was taken from.

The greenstone mere, belonging to the peace prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai, was recovered on Thursday after being stolen from a glass display case beside the tomb at Parihaka Marae last Sunday.

The alleged offender has family links to the Parihaka community.

Police said the “precious and priceless relic” was found buried in bush near the marae after information was given to Hamilton police, who alerted police in Hawera.

Sergeant Jeremy Bull, of Hawera, said the mere was returned to Parihaka elders on Thursday night “in a small but deeply moving ceremony”.

Rita Rukuwai, a great-granddaughter of Te Whiti, said the theft of the mere had been deeply felt by the elders, and was similar to when precious war medals were stolen from Waiouru army museum.

“It’s a very sad thing to happen, we’re very relieved to have it back.”

It was the first time a theft of a relic had happened at the marae, she said.

“By the way it was buried we think the person [who stole it] was coming back to get it.

“It’s quite surprising – we are not sure why it was stolen. It might have been for revenge, we don’t know. No Maori would touch it if it was sold – it has far too much significance.”

The theft would be discussed by elders at the next remembrance day for Te Whiti on September 18, she said.

The marae had decided the mere would be returned to Te Whiti’s tomb. “We discussed giving it to the Taranaki museum but it is better kept at Parihaka where it belongs.”

A stronger display case would be made for better security.

Mr Bull said the successful recovery of the mere had been the result of good community work.

September 7th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Police crack year-old temple theft with arrest of Pujari men
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Police-crack-year-old-temple-theft-with-arrest-of-Pujari-men/676058/

Express News Service Tags : temple theft case, mumbai Posted: Thu Sep 02 2010, 00:03 hrs Mumbai:

The arrest of two Ravi Pujari gang members helped the police crack a year-old theft at a Jain temple in Kashimira area. The police arrested Deepak Bhajanlal alias Thakur and Vicky Deval on a tip off that they were preparing to commit a dacoity in Jogeshwari. But they were in for a surprise when the accused confessed to have stolen statues and artifacts from the temple a year ago with three others.

Police claimed most of the loot, including three statues and five religious artifacts, has been recovered and further investigation is on to recover the rest.

Additional Commissioner of Police (West Region) Amitabh Gupta said, “On Tuesday, our special squad received a tip off on Ravi Pujari gang members planning to carry out a dacoity in the Jogeshwari Vikhroli link road area. Based on the information, we laid a trap and arrested two men while three others managed to escape.” The police recovered a country made revolver, two live rounds and a sword from the duo.

September 2nd, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Artifact stolen from Vakil Mosque found
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/140029.html
Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22AM

Police have recovered the inscription stolen from Vakil Mosque.
Iranian police have recovered an ancient inscription that was stolen from a historic mosque in southern province of Fars over four months ago.

“Investigations launched by police and heritage activists over the last few months concluded with the discovery of the precious artifact in Marvdasht city, located in Fars Province,” said Mohammad-Reza Bazrgar, head of Fars Province Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department.

“In May 2010, thieves entered the Vakil Mosque under cover of darkness. Then they captured and tied up a security guard before escaping with the invaluable item,” he further explained.

The mosque was built between 1751 and 1773, during the Zand Dynasty. It was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar period.

“No one has yet been arrested related to the theft,” he went on to say.

The ancient piece belongs to the early Islamic era. Verses of the holy Quran were carved on the jadeite which measures 125 centimeters by 70 centimeters.

NAT/JG/HRF

August 25th, 2010

Posted In: recovery, religious artifact theft

Thieves preying on temples, shrines
http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201008180282.html

BY YASUKAZU AKADA THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

2010/08/19

Alarmed at the theft in March of a Buddhist statue created 1,000 years ago that is designated a national important cultural property, the Agency for Cultural Affairs set about finding out how many similar incidents had occurred.

It discovered that at least 105 Buddhist statues, Jizo deities and shrine dogs had been stolen from temples and shrines across the country between fiscal 2007 and 2009.

It was the first such survey by the agency.

Many of the stolen objects are not designated as important cultural properties by the central or local governments.

The agency alerted local boards of education, which are responsible for the protection of cultural properties.

The theft in March was of the Seated Image of Dainichi Buddha, a wooden statue dating from the late Heian Period (794-1185). It was discovered missing from a warehouse at Konyoji temple in Nose, Osaka Prefecture.

Of the 105 missing statues, 20 were stolen in fiscal 2007, 40 in fiscal 2008 and 45 in fiscal 2009, the agency said. By prefecture, Wakayama had the highest number of cases at 20, followed by Shiga Prefecture with 13, Gunma and Shizuoka with 11 each, and 10 respectively in Nara and Kyoto.

Of these, two are designated as national important cultural properties and nine are designated as prefectural or municipal cultural properties.

The remaining 94 are not protected by law or ordinance, the agency said.

The stolen objects included a bronze statue of Nitta Yoshisada, a legendary warrior in the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), in Gunma Prefecture and parts of centuries-old statues of leaders of the Ashikaga Shogunate (1338-1573), in Kyoto Prefecture.

In many instances, such cultural objects are sold to antique dealers, the agency said.

Items that are not designated as having particular cultural merit are likely being stolen by people who need money, said Nara prefectural police officer Kohei Nakaue, who is in charge of crimes against cultural assets.

“These items are often stored at temples and shrines which are unmanned,” he said.

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft