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Ancient Roman sarcophagus lid, believed stolen, turns up in Queens warehouse

28
Feb
2014

An ancient Roman marble sarcophagus lid of a woman laying on a couch showed up in a warehouse in Queens, earlier this month — and federal investigators think it was stolen. Today they plan to seize the lid that is believed to have been stolen by Gianfranco Becchina, a convicted Italian antiques dealer who operated a gallery in Switzerland until he was convicted for trafficking thousands of Roman artifacts in 2011. During the investigation, Italian national military police searched his property and found documentation of his dealings in Switzerland — including evidence of the sarcophagus lid, which Becchina allegedly bought damaged in two pieces in Italy and sent to his Swiss gallery in 1981. But for the next 30 years, the sarcophagus lid was in the wind — until it resurfaced, mysteriously restored, in May 2013 at a New York exhibition.

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