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Man held in church art thefts

June 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A man suspected of stealing $15 million of historic treasures from churches was arrested, French officials said.

The 30-year-old suspect was taken into custody in St.-Ouen, north of Paris, after he allegedly asked an antiques dealer to sell an object stolen from a church in Normandy, said a police official.

The investigation began after statues and other treasures began disappearing from Normandy churches in 2007. Some of the objects date to the 12th century.

The man allegedly sold some of the stolen goods, including a Virgin Mary statue worth $2.3 million, police said.

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