They attempted the impossible. Egyptian authorities announced on Tuesday that they had arrested three people who were about to steal a ten-tonne thousand-year-old statue of Pharaoh Ramses II. They thought they could achieve this “feat” with the help of a crane. The prosecution said in a statement that it had “ordered the detention of three defendants for four days pending the investigation”, accusing them “of having attempted to steal a pharaonic statue” in the ancient southern city of Aswan, some 675 kilometers south of Cairo, on the Nile.
According to the statement, police reported that “three people were arrested in possession of hand digging tools and heavy equipment, a crane”, which they had used in an attempt to “lift the statue and excavate the antiquities in the region.
29,000 antiques stolen in ten years
The Aswan Antiquities Authority has proven “the age (of the statue) and attributed it to Ramses II, with a weight of about ten tons”, the statement added. The prosecutor’s office ordered the police to “promptly investigate other people involved with the suspects in the crime.”
Ramses II, one of the most famous pharaohs of the 19th dynasty, reigned for sixty-seven years. He was known as a great warrior and a prolific builder who ordered the construction of temples throughout Egypt. Over the past decade, Egypt has recovered around 29,000 antiquities that were illegally taken abroad.