Hungarian Police Recover Artifacts Stolen Last Year from Jewish Museum

Hungarian police have recovered most of a collection of Jewish artifacts stolen from the Jewish museum in Budapest last December.

Nearly 90 percent of the collection, valued at $200 million, was recovered more than two weeks ago near the Romanian capital of Bucharest, according to Hungarian police chief Gen. Ion Pitulescu.

Speaking at a news conference last week, Pitulescu said the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, had helped Hungarian and Romanian police in tracking down the collection.

Two suspects in the case, Romanian citizens identified as Emilian Stefan and Nicolac Chirita, have been arrested in Vienna and Frankfurt, respectively, and Hungarian authorities are currently seeking their extradition.

Local reports indicate there may have been additional people involved in the robbery.

The collection, stolen last Dec. 12, consisted of more than 180 pieces collected since 1916,including gold and silver religious objects, paintings and carpets.

After being closed for several months, the Jewish museum, housed in the building of Budapest’s main synagogue, was recently re-opened to the public.

Pitulescu said the collection would be returned to the museum within a month. Preparations are under way for a special exhibition of the stolen treasures.

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