January 11, 2023

Egypt: Authorities Foil Ancient Statue Heist

Three would-be thieves have been detained by Egyptian authorities after attempting to make off with a 10-tonne statue using heavy equipment.

On Tuesday, 10 January, the public prosecutor’s office released a statement explaining that the suspects snuck into an archaeological site situated outside of Aswan, a popular tourist city situated along the Nile River in southern Egypt.

The three men were found attempting to remove the over 3 000-year-old granite statue of Ramses the Great using drilling and other excavation tools, including a crane and forklift. The trio confessed to the act, along with the intent of smuggling antiquities.

Their arrest revealed several video clips of their actions and other illegal activities on their mobile phones, and the Public Prosecution Office will take legal action against the defendants.

The suspects will remain in custody for four days while an investigation into the crime proceeds.

Ancient artefacts are often smuggled out of Egypt, but local authorities have managed to recover over 29 000 items in the past decade.