Rare porcelain art theft in Pretoria

2011-05-13 20:36

Johannesburg - Police are searching for R500 000 worth of rare and historic East-Asian porcelain artifacts stolen from the Akademie vir Wetenskap and Kuns (Academy of Science and Art) in Pretoria, the institution said on Friday.

"They came in through the roof, and destroyed part of our historic building," academy CEO and professor Jacques van der Elst said.

Security guards at the academy's museum section were alerted by the alarm system at 02:00 on Friday, but were unable to catch the burglars in time.

"They had already taken half of our Japanese and Chinese porcelain collection, and were still busy when the alarm must have interrupted them," said Van der Elst.

"They also took personal items from our offices, including a few computers," he said.

Van der Elst believes the theft is part of a larger syndicate that is targeting porcelain art works."The whole thing is very suspicious, I think something similar happened before," he said.

Police were not immediately available to comment on the existence of the syndicate, but local Sunnyside officers have said that the investigation into the the burglary is still underway.

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