Law enforcement bodies of Ternopil region has arrested a criminal gang, members of which have been robbing wooden churches for five years, the head of the regional police department Fedir Bortniak informed.

"After the arrest it has been revealed that the robbers have been involved into icons' stealing for 15 years. Once they were brought to account in Rivne region, and knowing the methods of investigators they have been avoiding repeated arrests for a long time," Bortniak said.

According to the official, the law enforcement department received information on a sale deal of a big lot of icons. Traffic police officials stopped the determined vehicle, in which found 24 stolen icons. Later the police arrested one of the thieves in Odesa region and collected 56 stolen rarities.
Certain icons, stolen by the gang, are dated back to XVIII century, and the most expensive among them is the icon of "Saint Nicolas" - approximate cost is 30 thousand dollars.

"The thieves were selling stolen items for a song. For example, they sold 15 icons for five thousand dollars, while dealers were selling these icons after restoration at 5-30 thousand dollars each," Bortniak informed.

According to the official, the police department has also arrested the dealer, a Kyiv resident, who was buying stolen items.

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