NEWS

Five questioned over icon theft

Police detained five people in the eastern Peloponnese yesterday for questioning in connection with the theft of a priceless icon from a local monastery as sources told Kathimerini that officers were searching for a man known locally as «Tarzan» who may be linked to the break-in. Officers did not reveal the details of the five people who were detained in Laconia and were being questioned until late yesterday. However, sources revealed that police believe that five people – three Greeks and two foreigners – were involved in the theft of the icon last Friday from the cliff-side Elona Monastery in Leonidio. The suspects taken into custody yesterday are not believed to have been directly involved in the theft. Efforts to find the thieves were boosted after police identified the plumbing and marine goods store which sold the rope used in the break-in. Officers said that an employee at the shop in the village of Skala provided a detailed description of the man who bought the rope which was used to help the robbers escape after stealing the icon. Sources said that the man they are seeking as a result of that information is a Greek around 40 years old who is known to locals by the nickname «Tarzan.» Police have also discovered that the suspect had recently been in contact with an icon painter. The gold icon, which measures just 50×40 centimeters, is some 700 years old and, apart from being priceless, is considered to have the power to work miracles by thousands of worshippers who flock to the monastery each year to see it. Robbers broke a small window at the monastery early on Friday to gain access to the icon but may have left a vital clue behind as a fingerprint was found on the window, officers said. It appears one of the thieves may have taken off his gloves off as he was climbing out the window.