18 priceless Buddha statues stolen from Indian museum

Indian authorities on Wednesday alerted Interpol after 18 priceless bronze Buddha statues were stolen from a museum located meters (yards) from a police station, police said.

Robbers sneaked into the Patna Museum through a first-floor window and grabbed the 8th and 9th century statues from the gallery, said Anil Sinha, Patna's inspector-general of police.

Patna is the capital of eastern Bihar state considered to be India's most lawless. The museum is near the city's main police station.

The antiques belonged to one of the richest cultural periods of Indian history, when the Pala dynasty ruled Bihar and West Bengal states, reports AP.

Forensic experts were examining fingerprints lifted from the bronze gallery, but no arrests have been made so far, Sinha said. Interpol was alerted since the robbers were expected to try to sell the statues to buyers from outside India to get a higher price.

"The statues are priceless," said Surendra Shah, the Patna Museum director.

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