Greek police search Switzerland for artefacts stolen from Olympia museum

Artefacts stolen from the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Switzerland?

Published on 24 April 2012

Author(s): samarkeolog

Type:  Blog Originally published 2 April 2012

A week ago, it was reported that Greek police were searching Switzerland for artefacts stolen from the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games; but there have been no reports of recovery of artefacts, or arrests of suspects.

(Elsewhere, I’ve posted information on the robbery, and descriptions and photographs of the missing objects.)

Apparently, ‘information indicate[d] that many of the stolen items [πληροφορ?α αναφ?ρει πως πολλ? απ? τα κλεμμ?να αντικε?μενα]‘ were in Switzerland, allegedly ‘contradicting police assessments that the theft was amateur [διαψε?δοντας τις εκτιμ?σεις των αστυνομικ?ν, ?τι η κλοπ? ?ταν ερασιτεχνικ?]‘; but they still haven’t caught any of the criminals or recovered any of the artefacts.

And they don’t have a good record in identifying suspects in the Olympia robbery; or, indeed, in reporting/leaking accurate information.

Switzerland is a key point in the global illicit antiquities trade, so it is a plausible destination for the stolen goods (or, more likely, a point of exchange in a longer journey to Britain, Germany, the U.S. or elsewhere).

However, more than six weeks have passed since the armed robbery of the museum in Olympia. Six weeks would suffice for an amateur to find a dealer capable of helping; or for the artefacts to pass through several pairs of hands, up the line from an opportunistic thief to an organised criminal network.

So, even if the police did find Olympic artefacts in Switzerland (and that is still an “if“), it would not necessarily be evidence that the original robbery was a professional heist rather than a (comparatively opportunistic) hold-up.


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