Golden oak wreath recovered

Five men were charged yesterday with antiquities offences after their central Athens arrest for trying to sell a 2,200-year-old golden wreath and other illegally excavated ancient artifacts. Police said the suspects had been negotiating the sale of the 19-piece collection for 150 million drachmas (440,000 euros) to a foreign buyer, with whom they had an appointment on Wednesday on the corner of Nikis and Ermou streets, near Syntagma Square. But antiquities theft squad officers turned up instead and arrested Constantinos Lakafosis, 57, Harilaos Katsiyiannis, 53, Efstratios Aktsoglou, 45, Dimitrios Sioutis, 60, and Giorgios Nioras, 56. The terracotta, bronze and marble artifacts date to Classical times. The 20-centimeter-wide wreath replicated a bent oak twig with leaves and acorns, and was made between the third and first centuries BC. Lamia police believe the highway thief may be a local resident, as he seems well acquainted with by-roads and highway exits.

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