Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Father, Son Held in Thefts at Hermitage

ST. PETERSBURG -- Police have detained the husband and son of a museum curator on suspicion of stealing hundreds of pieces of artwork from the Hermitage State Museum, Interfax reported Saturday.

The suspects have admitted to stealing about $5 million worth of artifacts over six years with the help of a member of the museum staff who is now dead, Interfax said, citing a source close to the investigation.

Police could not confirm the report.

Interfax said one suspect was married to Larisa Zavadskaya, a curator who died suddenly at work during an audit of the Hermitage collection that uncovered the thefts. It said the other was her son.

Investigators found over 100 pawnshop receipts for jewelry in the suspects' possession, Itar-Tass reported. Neither suspect has been charged.

On Friday, an antique dealer discovered that a decorated 19th-century chalice in his possession was among the items stolen from the Hermitage, and returned it to authorities.

Boris Boyarskov, the head of the Culture and Press Ministry's department in charge of protection of cultural treasures, said the dealer had given investigators information that led to Saturday's arrests.

"Thanks to the conscientious antique dealer, we understood where the precious items could come from, and law enforcement agencies have taken the necessary action," Boyarskov said on NTV television.

(Reuters, AP)