Brits jailed for stealing museum rhino horns
The Local · 15 Sep 2012, 11:47
Published: 15 Sep 2012 11:47 GMT+02:00
- Police arrest Brit over rhino horn theft (23 Mar 12)
- Police nab suspected rhino horn robbers (12 Mar 12)
- Cops outfoxed by wily horn thieves (21 Feb 12)
The Offenburg court sentenced the 31- and 29-year-old to three and two-and-a-half years for what Judge Ute Körber said was serious joint theft, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday.
The men, who both have long criminal records, admitted stealing the horns from stuffed rhino heads on display in the Offenburg museum “Ritterhaus” in Baden-Württemberg.
Their modus operandi was simple, according to earlier media reports: a couple would distract the museum’s staff while two men upstairs climbed on top of a display case, took the head from where it was hanging on the wall and knocked its horns off with a sledge hammer. They then fled with the horns hidden in their coats.
Horns have also been stolen in Hamburg, Münster, Bamberg and the eastern town of Sebnitz and other places.
They are apparently part of a global network of rhino horn dealers, directed from the UK and Ireland, the magazine said.
Another member of the gang has already been convicted under youth laws and is free. A fourth man aged 36 is on the run. The rhino horns have not been found, but are considered to be worth around €50,000 each – when powdered, they are highly valued in Asia.