Three prehistoric gold bracelets stolen from Romania brought to the country from Belgium

Two prosecutors with the Criminal Prosecution Section of the Prosecutor’s Office, together with police officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, brought back to the country three prehistoric gold bracelets from the Bronze Age and the Early Middle Hallstatt period – end of the 2nd millennium BC, from archaeological sites in Romania.

They were taken from the MAS museum in Antwerp, Belgium. The handing-over event, which took place on Monday, was also attended by the Inspector General of the Romanian Police.

“The three valuable movable cultural goods, protected by law, were stolen by unknown perpetrators and subsequently confiscated. Two of them were identified when they were offered for sale at a public auction in the Principality of Monaco. The third piece was identified during a house search at the Belgian residence of the person who deposited the two pieces at the Monte Carlo auction house for public sale,” the representatives of the Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.

On 27 October 2020, the Belgian judicial authorities reported the appearance of the two pieces in the catalogue of an auction in Monte Carlo, and on 11 November 2020, the criminal investigation bodies of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police IGPR – Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Service for the Protection of National Cultural Heritage, have taken note ex-officio of the offence of aggravated theft.

“The action to return the bracelets was made possible through a very good judicial cooperation with the investigating judge of the Court of First Instance of Veurne – Belgium and benefited from the support of the Flemish Regional Ministry – Department for Culture, the Romanian Embassy in Brussels and the National Member of Eurojust. The assets have been seized and will be handed over to the custody of the National Museum of Romanian History until the final settlement of the case, and will be subject to multidisciplinary expertise (physical-chemical, museographic, etc.),” the press release added.