Greek minister resigns over ancient Olympia theft

Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 23:02

Athens: Greek Culture Minister Pavlos
Geroulanos resigned on Friday after masked armed robbers stole
more than 60 ancient objects of "incalculable" value from a
museum in Olympia.

Sixty-eight objects were whisked from a museum dedicated
to the ancient Olympic Games after two masked men immobilised
the museum`s sole female guard as she arrived to take over the
early morning shift, officials said.

"There were two of them, and they had a gun," Olympia
Mayor Thymios Kotzias told Flash Radio.

"They immobilised the guard as the shift changed at 7am
(local time), having previously knocked out the alarm," he
said.

"We must wait and see what the local archaeology
supervisor will say, but the items were of incalculable
value," Kotzias said.

A government source said Geroulanos had submitted his
resignation over the incident, but it was not immediately
clear if it had been accepted by Prime Minister Lucas
Papademos.

Olympia, birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, is
visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

The incident occurred at the town`s second museum, which
showcases nearly 500 objects related to the Games, such as
clay vessels and bronze discs used in the events, stone
tablets and bronze statues of athletes.

Kotzias said no security staff are actually present
between 6 and 7am, when the building is guarded by an
electronic alarm.

"The museum had never been targeted before," the mayor
said.

The main Olympia museum, which is better guarded,
features statues, architectural elements and offerings from
the sprawling ancient complex where the Games were held from
at least 776 BCE to 393 AD.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 15:05

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