INTERPOL has initiated an ‘operation to try to recover’ artefacts stolen in Olympia museum robbery

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Martin Rogers (@mrogersyahoo), ‘Interpol has mounted an operation to try to recover’ the ‘priceless’ artefacts stolen from the Museum of the History of the Ancient Olympic Games, in Olympia, Greece, on the 17th of February this year. However, it does not appear to be an intelligence-led swoop on the thieves, smugglers and dealers of the 77 artefacts; it appears to be a hunch-led fishing expedition.

As Rogers revealed,

it is expected that the thieves will try to sell the items during London 2012, when interest – and prices – would be at an all-time high….

Interpol has assigned a team of experts from its “artworks and cultural heritage” unit to monitor the lucrative black market in artifacts and try to locate the stolen pieces and apprehend the perpetrators.

Similarly, Yahoo! Sports’ Olympic museum source commented:

There has been no news concerning this topic and up to this point [the robbers] are getting away with it. We are not sure if this act is connected to the Games, but we know it is possible.

With the Games being in the headlines it would be easier for them to move and sell the items, and it is also possible that they followed orders in targeting these items.

Basically:

  • it would be logical to try to sell the artefacts from ancient Olympia during the London Olympics, and
  • it could be logical to have stolen the artefacts in order to sell them at the Olympic Games (though it looked more like an amateur hold-up than a professional heist); but
  • there is no forensic evidence that supports those suspicions, and
  • there is no intelligence that suggests any suspects; so
  • Interpol will monitor the situation.

That is not a criticism of INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) or its monitoring operation (or Rogers’ article); it is merely a boring reading of the information, by a reader who remembers the (Greek police’s) ‘trap’ in Greece and ‘search’ in Switzerland.

If anyone has any information, please contact INTERPOL‘s National Central Bureau in Athens [(Ref. 3010/2/352-180314/10), or the INTERPOL General Secretariat (Ref. 2012/11411)], and/or me. I will chase up any leads, and any official investigations into those leads.

(Rogers noted a ‘statement on the Interpol website’ that said they were “working to raise awareness of the problem among the relevant organizations and the general public”; but it was a general statement on their Works of Art unit‘s webpage.)

(The article is also available from Yahoo! News South Africa and the Times and Democrat.)

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