The AP is reporting that Italian authorities have uncovered a looting network which raided tombs outside Naples and Venice. The objects were then illegally exported to market nations like the United States.
During more than a year of investigations, authorities recovered nearly 1,700 statues, vases and other artifacts dating from pre-Roman times to the heyday of the empire. Police flagged 19 people for possible investigation by prosecutors. The artifacts were mainly dug out from tombs in the areas around Naples and Venice and included a bronze bust of the emperor Augustus, customs police in Rome said. Part of the loot had been smuggled to the United States to be sold to collectors, they said. The Italians said they worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Haven, Connecticut, to recover 47 ceramic and bronze statutes that had been looted from a tomb in southern Italy dating between the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.
- The Associated Press: Italian police recover hoard of looted artifacts, Associated Press, December 11, 2009.