Greece's Largest Theft of Antiquities
In the early morning hours of
Many of the stolen items, some of which were excavated in 1866 by the
The police immediately launched a wide scale investigation in the hopes of recovering the plundered items. The police distributed pictures of the objects and alerted airports, embassies, consulates and regional police departments around the world of the theft. They knew that the more informed people were of the stolen objects, the better the chances someone might spot them somewhere and report it to the authorities.
The whereabouts of the artifacts remained a mystery for nine years. Then, in September 1999, a tip led investigators to a storage house in
The FBI, who assisted in the investigation, said a woman named Wilma Sabala was identified as having possession of most of the collection. At the time, the artifacts were consigned to Christies Auction House in
Sabala has since been arrested and sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to interstate transportation of stolen property, Nikos Axarlis reported in an article for the Archeological Institute of America. Five other people, all Greek nationals, were implicated in the robbery, including Tryfonas Karahalios, aged around 67 at the time of the crime, his two sons Tryfonas and Anastasios and his wife Thaleia, as well as another suspect, Ioannis Loris. In January 2001, Anastasios was tried for his part in the crime and sentenced to life in prison, the severest sentence ever meted out for an archeologically related crime in