Sixty eight (68) small golden and copper objects that were exhibited in the old Archaeological Museum of Olympia were stolen in the morning of February 17th, 2012. The building of the old archaeological museum today hosts the Museum of the Olympic Games.
Masked gunmen attacked the guard while she was entering the museum and was deactivating the alarm at 07.30 a.m. The guard was asked to give them various artifacts, but when she refused she was tied up and gagged. After they smashed five glass display cases, the robbers stuffed into bags various objects, mostly of small size, including figurines, vases, lambs and a gold seal-ring which is over 3,000 years old. As reported by the culture ministry official, most of the stolen objects date from the 9th till the 4th century B.C.
The thieves left with direction to the forest behind the museum, where it is speculated that a car was waiting for them. Few minutes later, the guard managed to get untied and called the authorities. This guard was the only one on duty that time, as officials said, because of job cuts in the Greek public sector. The police reported that this is a very strange robbery as all objects have been photographed and registered, which makes it very difficult for the thieves to sell them in the illicit market of antiquities.
This is the second robbery from a leading Greek museum within a month, as few weeks ago one painting of Picasso and two of Mondrian were stolen from the National Gallery in Athens.