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Museum worker accused of stealing ancient pottery piece, selling it online

This photo shows a Jomon pottery piece that was allegedly stolen from a prefectural archaeology museum by a Yamanashi Prefectural Government worker. (Photo courtesy of Yamanashi Prefectural Police)

KOFU -- A Yamanashi Prefectural Government worker was arrested on March 28 on suspicion of stealing an ancient pottery piece from an archaeological museum, police here announced.

The suspect, Akinori Yoneda, 65, who works at the prefectural archaeological center, was quoted as saying to the Yamanashi Prefectural Police, "I didn't steal it but I put a similar pottery work up for sale at auction."

Police suspect that Yoneda stole the straw-rope pattern pottery item made in the Jomon period from a warehouse at the museum around 2013.

According to investigators, the ceramic piece, which is 12.8 centimeters high and 8.4 centimeters in diameter, was excavated in the prefecture. The ancient work was displayed on an online auction and sold for 70,000 yen.

Someone related to the museum noticed that the item had been placed up for auction and alerted police. Yoneda allegedly used his own account for the auction.

(Japanese original by Ryotaro Ikawa, Kofu Bureau)

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