Police in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, believe they are on the trail of a gang that has been stealing religious icons and other valuables from monasteries in the area after arresting a priest who is alleged to have played a major role in the thefts.
The cleric, who was not named, was found to be in possession of 48 stolen icons, wood carvings and various books. It is believed that some of the items were stolen from a monastery in Ioannina last year.
After arresting the priest, officers took another two men into custody. They also searched a monastery in the Pamvotida municipality and the two suspects’ homes, where they found more relics, a handgun and some 500 bullets.
The other two suspects were not named and the police said that the value of the stolen items was as yet unknown.