(Haaretz) — Three would-be tomb raiders in northern Israel were recently jailed for breaking into Galilee graves dating to biblical times, using a small bulldozer, no less.
The robbers were caught red-handed in the ancient biblical town of Mishkana, also known as Maskana, and were foiled before they could do too much damage to the graves, the antiquities authority said. The tombs could be as much as 1,900 years old.
Nazareth District Court sentenced one of the thieves to four months, another to six months and the third to nine months, and confiscated their JCB excavator forever.
“There are about 300 events of illegal excavation each year,” Nir Distelfeld, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s official for preventing robbery, told Haaretz. It’s hard to catch antiquities thieves in action because most of the sites are not only in the middle of nowhere, they’re not guarded.”