Athens busts of Kazantzakis, El Greco fall victim to metal thiefs

The number of statues stolen from central Athens in the past six months, most likely by scrap metal scavengers, rose to eight on Frida with the disappearance of the bronze busts of writer Nikos Kazantzakis and artist El Greco, which had graced the courtyard outside the Athens Municipal Cultural Center on Panepistimiou Street.

Deputy Athens Mayor Nelly Papachela told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency on Friday that four of the missing sculptures have been located by police at a scrapyard southwest of Athens.

“It is impossible to guard them because the bronze busts are scattered all over Athens,” she said. “The perpetrators appear to be very audacious, because they don’t even keep away from very central locations that are also well lit.”

Speaking to Parliament on the same day, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said he is exploring ways to protect public property such as rail tracks, electricity cables, bridges, transformers and metal ornamental features from being stolen for scrap, a source of illegal income that has gained momentum since the onset of the crisis and which costs the state millions of euros a year.

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