Stolen antique pedestal found on Maltapark

A former bell ringer was accused in court today of stealing anique items from two churches during his teenage years.

The man, now 21, was accused of having stolen an 18th century wooden pedestal worth some 2,500 euros from the Annunciation Church in Tarxien and eight wooden candlestick holders from St Dominic Church in Valletta, with a value of under 2,000 euros. He was also accused of handling stolen property.

The name of the accused cannot be published because he was under 18 years old when the alleged crimes were committed.

Police Inspector Spiridione Zammit said the investigation started after two helpers at the Tarxien church noticed that the pedestal, which was stolen two years previously, was on sale on MaltaPark for 500 euros.

The police searched the home of the accused and confiscated his computer. The pedestal and candleholders were found, along with frames from another theft.

The accused had offered various explanations of how he came across the items, but he eventually said that he stole the pedestal while ringing the bells during the village feast. He restored it and then decided to sell it.

He also admitted stealing the candleholders from the sacristy of St Dominic's Church while he was also there to ring bells for the feast.

The accused claimed he bought the frames.

The accused is pleading not guilty.

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