An American couple has been arrested in Greece for trying to smuggle precious Greek artifacts out of the country.
They were stopped at the Athens International Airport after officers discovered fragments of ancient artifacts in their belongings during a routine x-ray luggage check.
The pair of 64-year olds, both Oklahoma-born, had been traveling through Greece with their 32-year-old son. They were caught at the airport, en-route to Turkey, where they were to continue their vacation.
The man, a pastor, admitted to Greek authorities that he had collected the objects from various sites across Greece, including the Acropolis Hill of Athens, the Heptapyrgion (Yedi Kule) of Thessaloniki, Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Agora of Thessaloniki, the Areopagus in Athens and the Byzantine Towers of Veria.
A report in the Greek daily Kathimerini claims the man told the police that he “teaches Greek history and that he wanted the fragments to display them to his students and his flock in church.”
A video showing the couple get stopped has already been published on Greek sites.
According to an archaeologist from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Eastern Attica who examined the artifacts, they are believed to date to the Roman and Byzantine period and fall under the provisions of the law on the protection of antiquities.
The Greek police posted an announcement about the arrest and an image of the confiscated artifacts via Twitter.
“Two foreigners were arrested for violating the Law on the Protection of Antiquities & Cultural Heritage,” the statement read. “They were spotted at Athens International Airport when they tried to travel on a flight abroad.”
The two suspects were led before a prosecutor in Athens and were to face charges of illegally trading in antiquities.
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