An investigation revealed that the British Museum had lost 1,500 objects to thefts over the years

After the scandal that led to the discovery Systematic theft, over a period of years, of pieces from the warehouses of the British MuseumA final report published on Tuesday calculates the extent of looting in… About 2,000 items were missing or damaged.

who are they, 1.500 are the elements, Stolen or lost – Mostly gemstones and jewelry Feeling Catalogcoming from Dept Greece and Rome. Of these, only 351 cases have been recovered and another 300 have been identified.

There are some 350 articleslocated in the museum, which they have Mined or damaged gemstones Which has tool marks. Among them, it is estimated that there are about 140 of them for which it will not be possible to recover the extracted parts, which are suspected to have been sold online at a low price.

Security measures to “not happen again”

to’An independent report on security and the extent of theft – drawn up by barrister Nigel Prodman, High Court judge Ian Carrett and Chief Constable Lucy Dorsey – includes recommendations that the trust has fully and unanimously accepted to, they said, “to prevent this from ever happening again”. Press release from the museum. Museum president George Osborne said: “The British Museum is rearranging our inner house.”

The full report that Details of the museum’s security and operational deficienciesIt cannot be published – says the statement – because police investigations are ongoing, but among the recommended measures published 36, some of which have already been implemented; For example, that Workers never arrive at warehouse areas alone; As the thief apparently did.

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The British Museum displays only about 80,000 pieces to the public, but it has about 8 million (Reuters)

One of the most important and far-reaching measures is this Digitization of the entire museum collection.

They count that in 5 years It will be possible to consult files close to 70 million itemsout of 80 million owned by the museum’s collection, including It displays only about 80,000. A project with a budget Nearly 12 million euro, To cover this, the foundation appealed to private donors.

Recover as many pieces as possible

To recover the pieces that were still missing, the British Museum also requested In cooperation between the public and archaeologists.

Hi ha A website where images of objects are described and viewedwho can be contacted for advice while working with the Metropolitan Police in London to investigate art markets and social media around the world.

Police investigations into the thefts began in August this year, when the scandal broke. The events led to the dismissal of a worker – as an alleged thief – who was not arrested, and the resignation of the company’s director, Hertwig Fischer, who confessed. Failure to respond to warnings about possible theftstwo years ago.

Years of looting and silence

In 2021, rare jewelery dealer, Dutch antique Itay GradelHe warned that since 2014 he had been able to obtain… eBay At least seventy items of great historical and artistic value are offered on the online auction portal.

Gradel made sure to sell the parts at a much lower price To its real value, such as a piece from the Roman era worth about 55 thousand euros, for only 45 dollars. When Gradel learned that these were stolen items, he informed the museum and returned the items to them; In fact, these are the only items recovered from the stolen items.

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A museum spokesman said they believed that by selling the items through sites such as eBay, the thief would only do so He would have won around €116,000.

Peter HiggsThe fired worker was a veteran museum curator, an expert on ancient Greece, and always maintained his innocence. There is no clear reason for this What would be his motive?. For now, the Higgs is The main suspect in the caseMuseum head George Osborne accused him on the BBC “He is not cooperating” in the investigation.

The museum’s statement acknowledges this The thefts would have been happening for years. In fact, the fired employee has been working there for 30 years and it is not known whether he is the only person involved or the author of the thefts in the institution.

In 2017, the British Museum revealed that he had disappeared six years earlier Cartier ring Of diamonds worth nearly a million dollars.

In 2004, 15 pieces of Chinese jewelery were stolen during business hours, while in 2002, a 2,500-year-old marble head was taken from the plinth where it had been displayed.

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