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Museum Thefts Uncovered

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A special police team is investigating a series of thefts of valuable archaeological items from the Israel Museum. The investigation began last June after Dr. Dan Berg of the Education Ministry’s antiquities department found that 34 items from a rare glass collection at the museum were missing and other objects were broken.

Berg, who had just returned from the U.S., filed a complaint with police. Some of the stolen items were traced to an Armenian antiques dealer in East Jerusalem. Some are believed to have been smuggled into Jordan and other Arab counties.

The investigation disclosed that about 80 archaeological items valued at hundreds of thousands of Pounds have been stolen from the Israel Museum in recent years. According to reports there had been no proper registration of the items. In several cases, the museum purchased antiquities stolen earlier from the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem. In one case, the Rockefeller Museum bought five oil lamps that were stolen from its own cases.

Employees of the antiquities department have been interrogated and some took lie detector tests. So far, no employee has been implicated in the thefts.

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