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Robbery at Greece's Ancient Olympia museum

It was the second major museum heist in the past two months.

The Olympic flame at Olympia.
The Olympic flame at Olympia.
Image: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

MORE THAN 60 artefacts were removed from a museum at Greece’s Ancient Olympia earlier today during the second major museum theft in the country this year.

Two armed thieves wearing ski-masks tied up a museum guard before taking dozens of invaluable artefacts.

“According to the results of the investigation so far, unknown persons, this morning at about 7:34am, immobilised the guard of the museum and removed bronze and clay objects from the displays, as well as a gold ring,” a police statement said.

The museum is located at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece. A ceremony is due to be held there on 10 May to light the Olympic torch for the London 2012 Games.

As this is the second robbery in just two months, Culture Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos has offered his resignation. According to Bloomberg, it is still unclear whether it will be accepted by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

The Minister has travelled to the museum this morning to assess the situation.

The Mayor of Olympia Thymios Kotzias has urged authorities to provide more security in the area. He said that treasures – pieces of world heritage – have now been lost. The site was restored in 2007 after it was damaged in forest fires and the museum holds some of the country’s most important antiquities.

Last month, the National Gallery in Athens was targeted by thieves who took art works by Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian. Those robbers are still at large.

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A Picasso painting taken during the January heist at the National Gallery. It had been donated by the artist to the Greek people in 1949, as an honorary offer for its brave resistance during the Nazi occupation.

-Additional reporting by AP

More: Real life: 9 of the most daring robberies of all time>

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