TEL AVIV (Nov. 14)
Museum authorities in Haifa are offering a $5,000 award for information leading to the recovery of a collection of Japanese miniature art objects, which were stolen early Monday morning from the municipality’s Museum of Japanese Art on Mount Carmel.
The collection, which was uninsured, is reportedly valued at $300,000.
The thieves did not touch paintings on the walls, but cleared out all the small objects on display in glass showcases.
Police believe the thieves were either lovers of Japanese art or people working under their instructions.
A special watch has been posted at ports and airports, and Interpol has been requested to provide international cooperation in tracking down the art thieves.
The Haifa municipality has been criticized for allegedly sloppy security provisions at the museum, where extensive construction work is in progress.
A private security guard employed by the museum was on duty in a nearby room, but reportedly failed to hear or see anything.
Many of the art miniatures stolen, dating from 1615 to 1869, were small enough to have been concealed in a clenched hand.