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British Museum Faces Security Concerns Following Staff-Driven Thefts

British Museum

In a shocking revelation, the British Museum has terminated a staff member suspected of pilfering historical jewels from a storeroom, initiating a comprehensive review of its security protocols.

The accused, whose identity remains undisclosed, allegedly stole or harmed artifacts ranging from ancient gold jewelry to “gems of semi-precious stones and glass,” spanning from the 15th century B.C. to the 19th century A.D. As the London police delve into the matter, no arrests have been made yet, and the investigation is ongoing.

The museum refrained from commenting on the valuation or specifics of the missing items due to the ongoing police inquiry. However, it clarified that these stolen items, primarily consigned to academic research, weren't recent public displays. Addressing the situation, George Osborne, the museum’s chair, expressed the institution’s commitment to ensuring such incidents don't recur. He remarked, “We’re determined to right the wrongs and use the experience to build a stronger museum.”



The British Museum isn't new to such scandals. Notably, in 2017, it declared the loss of a diamond Cartier ring valued at nearly a million dollars from six years prior. Earlier episodes include the theft of 15 Chinese jewelry items during operational hours in 2004 and the disappearance of a 2,500-year-old Greek marble head in 2002.

Such thefts aren't exclusive to London. European museums have also suffered significant losses in recent years. Notably, in 2019, Dresden’s Green Vault museum was subjected to a heist, resulting in the loss of jewels worth approximately $108 million. Following an investigation, five individuals were convicted in connection with the theft. Additionally, in 2020, almost 500 ancient gold coins were burgled from the Celtic and Roman Museum in Manching, Bavaria.



Commenting on the recurrent thefts, Christopher A. Marinello, an art theft recovery attorney, stressed that worldwide museum thefts, especially involving internal staff, have become a "big problem." He emphasized, “For this to happen at the British Museum is extremely embarrassing and alarming.”

This theft revelation follows another incident at the museum last week when a stabbing episode occurred in its vicinity, leading to a temporary evacuation of the renowned tourist attraction. These back-to-back events underscore the urgency of reinforcing security measures at such pivotal cultural institutions. (AA)


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