An Italian policeman noticed a possibly familiar marble torso on sale for $350,000 in display while walking down Madison Avenue during his vacation in New York City. He asked the gallery owner about the piece’s origin, and took a picture of it on his cellphone. The owner’s response made the Italian suspicious, and so, on his return to Italy, he looked the statue up in the stolen artifacts database. Finding that it has been stolen from the archaeological museum in a town south of Rome in 1988, he reported it to the authorities.
The Italian police alerted officials in New York, who then recovered the statue and returned it to Italy this past Friday. A small bronze statue depicting Zeus or Poseidon was also returned to its rightful country. This statue was stolen from the National Roman Museum in 1980, and was sold in an auction to later be put on display in Cleveland. Its owner agreed to return it to Italy once she heard the story.
Italy has a collection of some of the greatest art treasures on the planet, and cases of theft are frequent. The objects are often sold abroad. The U.S. was glad to have the opportunity to help Italy recover some of their lost artifacts.