customs officers return two statues stolen from a parish

A ” happy ending ” for a business ” unusual “, says Philippe Bonnafous, Inspector General of Customs of Brittany. Customs officers in the region returned Wednesday, December 14 two statues stolen from the parish of Crozon, on the peninsula of the same name, south of Brest. These two 17th century stone sculptures had been stolen by a stonemason in December 2018 during a renovation project of the presbytery.

A first statue was found in October 2019 by customs officers in Roscoff, during a check when boarding a ferry to the United Kingdom. However, the British driver checked did not have authorization to take the statue out of French territory.

After an expertise of the Ministry of Culture, the statue is recognized as “cultural property” and attributed to the sculptor Roland Doré (1618-1660), whose works are widespread in the Breton parish enclosures.

Three months suspended sentence

This status of “cultural property”, within the meaning of the French heritage code, triggered research by the judicial finance investigation service (SEJF), an entity which brings together customs officers and tax officials. “This service is mainly used for counterfeiting cases”, specifies Philippe Bonnafous.

The investigation then went back to the antique dealer who had bought the statue and subsequently resold it. For its part, the second stolen statue was returned directly by its purchaser, following the investigation.

The author of these two thefts, a stonemason who worked on the Crozon site, was sentenced to three months’ suspended imprisonment in July 2022. He will have to pay damages to the Breton parish. The antique dealer, who bought the statue from the thief, received a similar sentence, together with a customs fine of €800.


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