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Olympic treasures stolen in armed raid

Thieves ordered a female member of staff to give them various objects

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Two masked men have stolen dozens of historical artefacts from a museum dedicated to the history of the Olympics in Olympia, Greece. The armed robbers smashed many glass display cabinets once they had overpowered the guard.

After entering the 'History of the Olympic Games in Antiquity' the thieves ordered a female member of staff to give them various objects. She refused to help so they tied her up and gagged her then proceeded to smash cabinets and steal more than 60 items which were mostly bronze and clay statuettes. The robbery occurred on Friday at 7:30 local time (05:30 GMT).

According to the local mayor, Thymios Kotzias, they "must wait and see what the local archaeology supervisor will say, but the items were of incalculable value." Some other items are said to have been damaged during the raid.

"Because of the way they smashed the windows everything within the display windows was shaken. so some had shattered a bit, so we don't know exactly what was taken."

There are two museums in the town which is situated in Western Greece, the other being the 'Archaeological Museum of Olympia' containing some of Greece's most valuable Ancient Olympian treasures. The museum which was robbed was the smaller of the two and less guarded. This is the second major theft involving a museum in the last two months. In the last robbery, at 'Athens National Gallery', a valuable Picasso painting was stolen as well as a Mondrian painting.

There is a shortage of some 1,500 guards in museums nationwide due to cuts in funds and layoffs imposed by the government. Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, who is on his way to Olympia, has tendered his resignation which yet to be accepted. He is on his way to the site in western Greece.

"All museums have suffered cuts, both in guards and archaeologists, the staff are no longer enough to operate at full shifts," said Ioanna Frangou, general secretary of the union of short-term culture ministry staff".

Article by Michelle


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