Strapped for Cash, Some Greeks Turn to Ancient Source of Wealth
Greece’s financial crisis is causing a spike in illegal excavations and swelling the ranks of looters with first-time offenders.
ATHENSRecently police in Greece have noted a spike in a surprising kind of crime: People with no prior criminal record are looting Greek antiquities.
One sign of the problem: a sharp rise in applications for metal detector permits. Because metal detectors are used to find ancient coins and artifacts, the Greek government tracks purchases of the devices and typically grants use permits only to people without a criminal record. “The numbers have increased, and this is related to the economic crisis,” Lieutenant Monovasios said.
As the Greek economic crisis has intensified over the past five years, police detectives with the Greek Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage have noticed not only that illegal excavations and thefts of archaeological artifacts increased,