Canada returns Bulgarian stolen artifacts

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Canada is returning to the government of Bulgaria 21,000 pieces of stolen cultural artifacts, including Byzantine crosses, bone sewing needles, pagan amulets, jewelled belt buckles and bronze eagles.

There are also 18,000 coins, including some from Hellenistic and Roman times. Most of the cultural objects were illegally excavated in Bulgaria and shipped by mail to an importer in Montreal.

Bulgaria's Deputy Minister of Culture, Todor Chobanov, who is also an archeologist, personally examined the artifacts and said he is excited to bring them home.  

Canada Border Service agents intercepted the first two shipments in 2007 and then called in the RCMP. By November 2008, the Mounties had seized thousands of ancient coins, jewellery and other Bulgarian antiquities.

No one was ever charged in the case but RCMP Sgt. Chris Pittman said investigators believed the importer intended to sell the objects on the internet....  

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