Sentencing in the Olympia Museum Theft

From eKathimerini:

Seven men were sentenced by a Greek court on Wednesday in connection with a high-profile museum robbery in Olympia last year, a judicial source said.

In February 2012, armed thieves broke into a museum dedicated to the ancient Olympic Games and made off with nearly 80 archaeological artefacts.

In November last year, police arrested three suspects trying to sell a Bronze Age gold ring in a hotel in the western city of Patras and subsequently cracked the case, recovering the stolen items.

A 41-year-old man believed to be the brains behind the operation, a 50-year-old former contractor who arranged the sale and a 37-year-old man were all handed seven-year sentences, according to the judicial source.

Two other Greeks were sentenced to six years while two Bulgarians were handed lighter sentences.

Greeces rich archaeological heritage has long been targeted by smugglers.

The Olympia robbery embarrassed the government, raising concerns that layoffs among archaeologists and staff, due to the financial crisis, had left museums vulnerable to theft.

It came just a month after thieves broke into the Athens National Gallery and stole a painting personally gifted to Greece by Spanish-born master Pablo Picasso, in addition to two other artworks.

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