Thieves raid Greece’s Ancient Olympia Museum

Inside the Olympia Museum: Wikimedia Commons

Armed robbers have stolen several dozen artefacts from Greece’s Ancient Olympia Museum, which houses one of the most important collections of ancient Greek antiquities, police and reports said.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Thieves raid Greece’s Ancient Olympia Museum” was written by Peter Walker, for The Guardian on Friday 17th February 2012 09.59 UTC

Armed robbers have stolen several dozen artefacts from Greece’s Ancient Olympia Museum, which houses one of the most important collections of ancient Greek antiquities, police and reports said.

Two robbers wearing hoods broke into the museum at around 7.30am (5.30am GMT) on Friday before tying up the one female employee on duty at the time, reports from Greece said. The robbers then used hammers to smash display cases, taking away between 60 and 70 items.

“According to the results of the investigation so far, unknown persons immobilised the guard of the museum and removed bronze and clay objects from the displays, as well as a gold ring,” a police statement said.

Police set up roadblocks around the museum.

The mayor of Olympia, Thymios Kotzias, told Greek radio that the robbers, who had a gun, first disabled the alarm and then struck as the guard shift was being changed, a report from the AFP news agency said.

“We must wait and see what the local archaeology supervisor will say, but the items were of incalculable value,” Kotzias was quoted as saying.

The Greek minister of culture, Pavlos Geroulanos, submitted his resignation following news of the robbery, according to Greek TV. It was not known whether the resignation had been accepted by the prime minister, Lucas Papademos.

The museum is next to the site, about 200 miles west of Athens, where the ancient Olympics were held. It houses many artefacts connected to the original Games.

It is near the Temple of Hera, where the Olympic flame is lit ahead of every modern Games. The torch for the London Olympics will be lit there at a ceremony in May.

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