Workers renovating a St. Petersburg mansion have allegedly attempted to steal part of a vast pre-revolution treasure trove they accidentally uncovered last week, police said on Tuesday.
First reports of the treasure emerged last Thursday when workers stumbled on a previously undiscovered secret compartment between the second and the third floor of the building that once belonged to the Naryshkin family. More than 1,000 valuable items, including silver flatware and porcelain were found there. The items date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Intarsia, the company renovating the mansion, notified police about the find on Thursday. However, workers allegedly uncovered the treasure several days earlier.
“There was an attempt to steal some items,” said Vladislav Kirillov, head of the St. Petersburg police art and cultural property crime department, adding that the security service of Intarsia prevented the crime. Intarsia spokesman Alexander Novikov confirmed that workers had tried to steal some valuable items, adding that the company’s security service warned Intarsia of the attempt on Thursday.The thieves tried to conceal some items inside the mansion.
“Yesterday, we found two small stashes… In one of them there was a sack concealed by construction debris, there were three salvers there and in a second stash there was a box with silver forks,” Kirillov said.
He added that the treasure trove may have initially been hidden in several parts of the building.
It is yet unclear whether the collection will be handed to a museum or the Naryshkin family heirs, who reportedly live outside Russia.