German police seize Aztec, Incan art

MUNICH, Germany (AP) — Munich police said Wednesday they have seized a large collection of Aztec, Incan and Mayan cultural artifacts that Costa Rican authorities claim were illegally removed from their country.

Art theft specialists from Bavaria’s criminal investigations office estimate that the collection, which includes around 1,000 masks, necklaces and statues, is worth some $100 million, said Ludwig Waldinger, a spokesman for the office.

Waldinger said that Costa Rican authorities appealed to Germany last week to help find it.

A 66-year-old art collector from Costa Rica who claims to have a right to possess the art recently brought it from Latin America to Bavaria by way of Spain.

The collector, whose identity has not been released, is not in custody, but could face criminal charges if it is determined that he is not the collection’s rightful owner, Waldinger said.