While the Americans can barely bring themselves to do more than get a few stolen artefacts back and send them home, over in Greece they are doing the job properly. See Samarkeolog 'Olympia museum robbery: three local, Greek suspects arrested in police sting'. Initially three men, all Greeks, were arrested after one of them was apprehended in a hotel room trying to sell one of the 77 items stolen in the robbery to an undercover police agent for half a million euros. The item concerned was the 3,300-year-old, Mycenaean bull-leaping gold ring. When the police agent revealed his identity the seller reportedly drew a gun on him, but was overpowered by police, who then arrested two accomplices in the hotel foyer. The three arrested had other items identified as Olympic Museum pieces and later revealed that many of the others laid buried in a hill in the area of Koskina, 2km from ancient Olympia.
The suspects are reportedly a 50-year-old contractor from Patra, a 36-year-old unemployed man from Patra and a 41-year-old unemployed man - described as the 'mastermind' of the gang who is from Patra but lives in Athens and reportedly made a living "selling little things" (like lighters on a bench in Monastiraki). What is not explained is where these three blokes got their AK47s from. Police are searching for two more residents of Patra in connection with the case, a 58-year-old and a 33-year-old.
It would seem that the gang had found themselves in a difficult position, with a treasure trove of collectable artefacts on their hands, they actually lacked the contacts to be able to sell them on. This is yet another illustration that the antiquity market cannot function without such demand-and-supply connections.
|The recovered objects on a table, the thieves in jail (Al Jazeera)|
'Olympia museum robbery suspects remanded; plead poverty',