Retired U.S. prof arrested for trafficking stolen antiquities


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A retired history professor from the United States was arrested for allegedly smuggling stolen antiquities from Israel and selling them illegally.

The American man sold, among other things, bronze and silver coins from the Second Temple period and a 1,500-year-old clay oil lamp.

When he was detained at Ben Gurion Airport for questioning late Monday night, he was found to be in possession of coins, as well as more than $20,000 — considered evidence that he has sold other antiquities during his visit.

He admitted to the illegal sales and attempted smuggling, according to a statement from the Customs Authority and the Israel Antiquities Authority. He was allowed to leave Israel after leaving a "large bond" to ensure that he returns for trial. 

The suspect, who works as a tour guide, had been in the country for two weeks. Near the beginning of his trip, hundreds of ancient archaeological artifacts in his possession were seized during a search of his hotel room after  inspectors from the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered that he was selling antiquities to a group of American tourists he was leading in Israel.

Antiquities robbers from sites throughout the country allegedly had stolen the artifacts.

Recommended from JTA