Judaica Thieves in Milan Sentenced in Jerusalem

Thieves who traveled from Israel to steal treasures from a synagogue in Milan were punished – by judges in Jerusalem.

Chana Ya'ar ,

Torah scroll
Torah scroll
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Judaica thieves who traveled from the Holy Land to steal treasures from the Great Synagogue of Milan, Italy were sentenced to prison terms on Sunday.

The four, detained until the end of court proceedings because they were considered a "menace to society," were accused of fraudulent acceptance of goods, money laundering, impersonation, forgery, use of forged documents, smuggling, conspiracy to commit a crime, and theft.

The rare artifacts stolen by the four Jerusalem residents are some of the oldest still being used today and are worth more than one million Euros. The thieves were identified partly with the help of security cameras in the synagogue, and with the assistance of a Judaica expert in Israel.

Among the items that were stolen were silver Torah crowns, four pairs of “rimonim” and other gold and silver sacred objects.

Some of the thieves had posed as worshipers in order to gain access to the items. Once stolen, the gang then traveled with their hoard on a train to Paris, where they then hopped a plane to Israel. Upon their return to the Jewish State, the thieves tried to sell the Judaic treasures, but were caught and arrested early in 2011.

All of the antique artifacts, which have been owned by the Milanese Jewish community for centuries and date back as far as the 17th century CE, were recovered, police said.