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Thieves break into military museum, steal decommissioned weapons; 6 arrested

Burglars trigger alarm at Golani Museum, alerting security company staff who access cameras remotely and spot gang stealing guns

Guns stolen from the Golani Museum in northern Israel are found by officers, February 19, 2022. (Israel Police)
Guns stolen from the Golani Museum in northern Israel are found by officers, February 19, 2022. (Israel Police)

Thieves broke into a museum dedicated to a military brigade and stole a number of old weapons overnight Friday.

None of the weapons taken from the Golani Museum in northern Israel were able to fire live ammunition.

Six suspects were arrested in connection with the heist — all were in their 20s and 30s and were from the town of Tuba-Zangariyye, some 40 kilometers (approximately 25 miles) from the museum at Golani Junction.

Police later said officers located all the weapons — hidden in bushes and under rocks nearby — and they would be returned to the museum.

“The weapons — of historical and sentimental value to the families of fallen Golani soldiers, the entire Golani family, and the nation of Israel — will be returned to the museum,” police said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials said they suspected the decommissioned guns were intended to be repurposed for criminal activity.

According to police, the recovered weapons included a mortar, an RPG, 2 MAG machine guns, 3 Galil assault rifles, an unnamed sniper rifle, an Uzi submachine gun, an unnamed carbine rifle, and an M-16 assault rifle.

Thieves at the Golani Museum in an image released February 19, 2022. (Courtesy)

According to the Walla news site, the theft was discovered when the burglars triggered an alarm at the museum.

Staff at the alarm company had remote access to the CCTV system at the museum and alerted police when they saw the masked thieves holding weapons.

The suspects are due in court on Saturday evening for a custody hearing.

The theft of guns has long been an issue for the military. As a result, in recent years, the IDF has invested millions of shekels in advanced security systems for armories.

According to data released by the Knesset in 2020, there are some 400,000 illegal weapons in Israel, the vast majority believed stolen from the army and police force.

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