Police Suspect Irish Gang In Rhino Horn Theft Epidemic

rhino museum

[credit provider=”Flickr Wooly Matt” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/woolner/2380771493/”]

In the last two months, there have been three unusual raids on Belgian museums that police suspect may have been made by the same gang.The prize? Rhino horns.

ABC News reports that the latest raid oc cured in the Africa Museum in the city of Lemur. One man made a diversion while the other two members of the gang escaped with a stuffed rhino head. Two other raids have occured recently.

The problem isn’t contained in Belgium. The Metropolitan Police told the Guardian that over 20 similar thefts have taken place in Europe over the last 6 months, so far taking place in Portugal, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Sweden, and the UK.

Police suspect all the raids are the work of the same organised crime group from Ireland.

Rhino horn is a traditional ingredient in Chinese medicine, but has gained in popularity recently.

“A rumour propagated across Asia claims powder from crushed rhino horn can cure cancer,” Anne Vanden Bloock told the Belgian news agency Belga. “This has greatly increased the worth of the horns recently.”

According to Interpol, the horns are worth between 25,000 and 200,000 euros ($284,418).