The University of Bergen’s Historisk Museum has posted photos online of some of an estimated 400 items stolen from its storage rooms earlier this month. They’re calling it a “professional” heist in which thieves climbed up scaffolding and broke a window leading into the building’s seventh floor.
Museum officials were at first unsure about what had been taken. They reported just before the weekend, though, that they’re missing hundreds of Viking-age belt buckles, keys, rings, tie and purse clasps and other items. The items had been assembled and temporarily stored in advance of being moved, and the thieves struck at a time when university officials admit their security should have been better.
“Many Viking items from our cultural heritage have been stolen,” the museum wrote on its Facebook page last week. “For a museum there’s hardly anything worse that can happen. Now we have a burning wish, that what’s been stolen will be returned.” State broadcaster NRK reported over the weekend that useum officials were even considering offering a reward for their safe return, which is unusual in Norway.
They fear the thieves will try to sell the items on Norway’s online classified advertising site Finn, on eBay or other markets. They’ve published around 40 photos of what’s missing in order to alert potential buyers to the stolen goods.
“This isn’t just a theft from the university museum in Bergen, it’s a loss for all of us,” museum director Henrik von Achen told state broadcaster NRK. “All Norwegians have lost some of their cultural heritage.”