Missing Centuries-Old Statue Found in North Carolina Home





A 350-year-old statue of a saint and former pope, taken from an Italian church nearly two decades ago, has been found in the home of a North Carolina couple who had no idea it was stolen, authorities said.

The intricately carved bust of St. Innocent will be returned to the church in Naples, Italy, U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement agents said.

The statue was one of 17 similar busts and two oil paintings taken from the church in November 1990. Authorities told The Charlotte Observer the trail went cold until two years ago, when officials in Rome let federal agents know an Italian citizen sold a similar statue to an antiques dealer from Greensboro.

The statue sold in Charlotte was bought by the same dealer at an antiques fair in France, said Neal Johnson, the Charlotte dealer who bought the statue from the same Greensboro dealer and sold it to the couple.

Agents continue to investigate the original heist. The Americans involved have not been charged, ICE spokesman Brandon Montgomery said.




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