Two thieves sneaked to the historic Saint Mary's Church in the old city of Tripoli, Libya, stole its copper bells and sold them in a scrap market, at a time when Libyan antiquities are being easily stolen and smuggled abroad.
On its Facebook page, the Tripoli Security Directorate (TSD) said it had arrested two persons after they admitted to stealing two bells from the church, and selling them to a scrap merchant.
TSD noted that it had managed to recover one of the stolen items, while the search continued for the other.
The Directorate has warned merchants from buying any items suspected of theft, and asked them to inform the authorities in case of any suspicion.
Libyans in Tripoli live amid fear of robberies, kidnapping, blackmailing, and killing.
Saint Mary's Church of Tripoli was built in 1615, restored in 1829, and then closed in 1970.
Mohamed al-Sawi, curator at Tobruk Museum told Asharq Al-Awsat that Libyan antiquities are being stolen and smuggled abroad, noting that citizens sometimes find some precious historic pieces and hand them over to the museum.