Men who stole $468,000 worth of icons sentenced in Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod, June 19, 2019

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A court in Nizhny Novgorod has sentenced the members of a criminal group that stole century-old icons and other Church items from churches and monasteries throughout the Province from 2016 to 2018.

The main theft occurred at the Holy Trinity Makariev Convent in May of last year, where the four men stole several icons dating to 1917, worth $439,200 (28.1 million rubles), reports Interfax-Religion.

One of the accomplices went to the monastery under the guise of a tourist and, falling behind his tour group, hid inside the Holy Dormition Church. “Waiting until the church was closed and nightfall, the perpetrator broke the kiots and removed the icons from 1917, worth 28.1 million rubles, of special artistic and cultural value,” reads a statement from the local prosecutor’s office.

The icons were then placed in a bag and pulled out of the church on a rope through an open window.

Photo: Holy Trinity Makariev Convent. Photo: wikimedia Photo: Holy Trinity Makariev Convent. Photo: wikimedia     

The most valuable of the stolen icons were the Vladimir Mother of God with Miracles icon, estimated by experts to have a value of $390,750 (25 million rubles), and the St. Nicholas the Wonderworker with the Miracle of Myra icon, estimated to have a value of $ 23,445 (1.5 million rubles), reports

The police learned that the men were seeking buyers for the icons and had been asking $78,150 (5 million rubles) for the myrrh-streaming Vladimir Mother of God icon. In all, police recovered ten icons stolen from the Makariev Convent, which were returned in June of last year.

The total monetary damage from all the men’s activities from January 2016 to May 2018 is valued at more than $468,900 (30 million rubles).

All four accomplices were convicted under articles dealing with the theft of items of particular value. Three were sentenced to terms of 5 to 9 years, while one was given 2 years’ probation. Two of the men appealed, though their appeals were denied.

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