Swedish church treasures went to Tenerife
For years, there has been a string of thefts in churches in northern Sweden. Artworks and handicraft from the Middle Ages onward have been stolen, everything from liturgic silverware to wooden effigies of saints. The theif/thieves could do this quite easily as the area is thinly populated and the churches haven't been locked in the daytime. The problem took such proportions that the county museum in Härnösand mounted a photographic exhibition named "Wanted -- church thefts in Western Norrland".
Today's papers report that the Swedish police have now found more than a hundred of the stolen objects in the home of a Spanish citizen on Tenerife. The 53-year-old man was expelled for life from Sweden for thefts in the 1970s, but he has nevertheless returned regularly. The police became interested in him last summer after he'd sold a stolen object on the net. They arrested him in September in Hudiksvall, a town in the very area where the thefts have taken place.
Let's hope there's documentation enough to show which piece goes back to what church.
Tegnér, G. 2002. Efterlyst -- en utställning om kyrkostölder i Västernorrland. Fornvännen 2002:3. KVHAA. Stockholm.
[More blog entries about art, crime, medieval, church, Sweden; konst, brott, medeltiden, kyrkor.]