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Norrland church thief demands cash for stolen statue

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07:59 CEST+02:00
The Spanish man jailed in 2006 for a spate of thefts from churches in northern Sweden has demanded 60,000 kronor ($8,300) for the return of a stolen statue.

The then 54-year-old man was sentenced to four years for the theft of over one hundred objects from a slew of churches in Norrland over a 20 year spree; he was deported from Sweden last year after completing his sentence.

Among the items stolen by the thief was a 15th century statue that he is now demanding 60,000 kronor for its return. He argues that the money is needed to compensate the person in current possession of the item who has grown tired of it.

If the money is not forthcoming then the statue will be sawn into bits, the thief has warned.

The demand for the money has been sent by the thief to the Sundsvalls Tidning newspaper who in turn have turned over the case to the police for investigation.

"It is out of the question that the Church of Sweden would pay some sort of ransom for the return of the statue," Per Westberg for the Church of Sweden told The Local on Friday.

Westberg added that this is not the first time that a demand has been forwarded to them for the return of one of the stolen objects.

"We said no then, and it is our policy to say no now. When we receive a request we hand it over to the police," he said.

Some of the objects that were stolen has now been recovered and returned to the respective churches, Westberg said.

"Many of the cases have become insurance issues and compensation has been paid to the church, or whoever owned the objects," he said.

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