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Edmonton man charged after $1.2M artifact recovered
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:51PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, February 13, 2014 6:41PM MST
Two people are facing charges, after a fifth-century B.C. artifact, stolen from a museum in Montreal in 2011 was found inside an Edmonton home.
RCMP said officers carried out a search warrant at an Edmonton home, as part of an investigation by Quebec’s provincial police force, Sûreté du Québec, on January 22.
In that search, investigators found an ancient artifact that was stolen in September 2011 from the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.
It’s estimated that piece, a fragment of a Persian bas-relief, is worth $1.2 million.
On January 29, RCMP arrested and charged Simon Metke, 33, with possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of the proceeds of crime.
CTV News spoke to Metke in his home on Thursday, February 13 – he said he bought the piece from someone for $1400 three years before, and had no idea it was worth much more, although the man he bought it from said it was worth more than Metke allegedly paid.
“He edged me on that it was worth a bunch more, but wasn’t telling me,” Metke said. “I don’t think he knew it was worth $1.2 million either.”
Metke told CTV News the person he bought the piece from didn’t tell him it was stolen.
In addition, Jana Lang, 26, was charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime.
The investigation continues as a second stolen artifact, an ancient Egyptian-style marble statuette of the head of a man dating back to the first century BC – the piece was stolen on October 26, 2011 from the same museum.
Metke and Lang are expected to appear in an Edmonton courtroom on March 19.
With files from David Ewasuk