The last major reported heist of stolen Belizean artefacts happened back in
the early 1900’s when a Mayan crystal ball, taken from one of our Mayan
temples was taken by one of the excavators to Canada and given to his young
daughter as a gift. There was nothing in place back then to protect our
prized artefacts. But while there is now legislation in place to do so,
the reality is, or was at the House of Culture, not put into practice
before last Wednesday, when the curator who was cleaning discovered that a
number of prized Belizean treasures were missing from their display case.
The pieces date back to the Colonial era, when King Edward Queen Victoria
reigned over the British monarchy. It was a time when Belize, then a
colony, adapted many of British practices and had as our Heads of State,
Governors representing the Crown. So valuable are the pieces that the
burglary or theft from the House of Culture is a robbery of a part of
Belizean history. But there were no signs of forced entry into the
building. Director of the Museum of Belize, Sherilyne Jones, told reporters
that the six stolen items cold have been taken by anyone: visitor or

Serilyne Jones – Director, Museum of Belize
“Last Wednesday we noticed that the display case was empty, some of the
sections had missing items and that was when we called the Police to report
that the items were missing. No forced entry. It was part of the
Government House when the Governors occupied the house these were their
household everyday items. The fact that the house isn’t used for that
purpose anymore, we had them on display so that people could understand the
history, and understand the importance they played in our past. There are
other objects that are more valuable in the house that are still here, why
they chose those particular pieces, I am not sure. We have never had any of
the display cases, not from the history of the house been open has any of
the display cases been under lock and key. We felt very much secure with
our staff and the people that come in on a daily basis. The one with the
silverware was the only one that items have been missing from.”

The pieces are clearly engraved to identify their authenticity and people
caught in possession of them can, under the law, be fined and confined upon
conviction of such an offense. Jones said that the first piece was
discovered missing earlier in September when the staff noticed that the
thief cunningly shifted around the remaining pieces to take up its space.
Jones added that the House of Culture will, over the next few weeks,
enhance its security features to avoid future thefts of its artifacts.

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