Man arrested with statuette stolen from Prehistoric Museum of Thera

Police arrested a 46-year-old man in Loutraki, Corinth prefecture, on Wednesday for illegal possession and sale of stolen antiquities.

Two of his accomplices have been identified and are being sought.

The man had in his possession a marble statuette, possibly of the goddess Aphrodite, that was stolen from the Prehistoric Museum of Thera (Santorini) in May. The torso of the figure had been reassembled from fragments to a height of 56.6 cm and the statuette was kept in the museum’s storage area when it disappeared. Eight additional fragments belonging to it were found in the man’s possession, bringing the total height of the art piece to 80 cm. The female figure is depicted draped with a chiton and himation and leaning on a pillar. The piece is dated to between the 2nd and 1st century BC.

The man was arrested on a tip that someone in the area was preparing to sell antiquities for a total of 350,000 euros. The man was driving a vehicle when he was stopped and arrested by police.

Other antiquities confiscated included the main part of a pyxis – a container – measuring 14 cm in diameter and 6 cm tall, including its cover, both decorated and dated to the Hellenistic-era, and a rock sculpted on four sides with the theme of Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra, dated to the late 3rd century BC. Each side measures 25 cm long and 14 cm high.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Culture said that the statuette had been registered as missing after inventory was taken following the museum break-in this past May, and would be returned to Santorini.

The man was scheduled to appear before a prosecutor.