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Greek Minister Quits Over Olympia Artefacts Theft

A major theft of priceless artefacts from a museum in the birthplace of the Olympic Games in central Greece early on Friday resulted in the resignation of Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos.

Reports quoting police said two masked men broke into the museum after overpowering a lone guard and decamped with more than 60 items - mostly bronze and clay statuettes.

Geroulanos tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and left for the museum. The Premier has not yet accepted the resignation.

Police said two masked robbers used hammers and smashed their way into the museum in Archaia Olympia early on Friday after gagging the guard, and took away the ancient relics. They had deactivated the alarm before entering the museum.

Archaeological experts were assessing the damage and the number of items stolen from the museum, located next to the site where the ancient Olympics were held.

Two years of severe austerity cuts have forced the Culture Ministry to cut down on security guards and staff at hundreds of museums around the debt-ridden country.

by RTT Staff Writer

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