Rhino horn stolen from Flatley homeMichael Flatley and his family were in their lavish 18th-century home last night as thieves broke in and stole a rhino horn.
The four-storey mansion holds many treasures, not least a Steinway grand piano, a valuable collection of flutes and rare collections of French and Italian wines but a senior Garda source said the gang stole just one rhino horn. “They specifically targeted this item, a rhino horn,” the garda said.
The house also contains priceless fireplaces and a library housing many first editions including signed copies of works by James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats and Sean O’Casey.
Gardaí believe the gang had the property under surveillance for quite some time. About three years ago, gardaí intercepted a gang, believed to be from Clare and Limerick, en route to Castlehyde with sophisticated burglary equipment.
An Irish gang specialising in the theft and trafficking of illegal rhino horns, is the subject of a threat notice from criminal intelligence agency Europol.
According to Europol, the Traveller gang — which has links to Rathkeale in Limerick — sources and acquires rhino horns through targeting antique dealers, auction houses, art galleries, museums, collectors and zoos.
Rhino horns can reap up to €200,000 per horn.
Michael Flatley's mansion robbed while Lord of the Dance star played with son
THIEVES escaped with valuables including African rhino horns worth an estimated €400,000 after Lord of the Dance star, Michael Flatley, accidentally disturbed them at his home.The star went to investigate a suspicious noise at the north Cork mansion at 6pm this evening as he was playing a computer game with his son, Michael Jnr. and wife, Niamh.He was shocked to see dark-clothed figures running from a wing of Castlehyde House.
The star drove up to the main road to try to follow the thieves but they had made their getaway.
At least four raiders were involved in the robbery of the north Cork property with a major Garda investigation now underway.
Almost a dozen Gardai were at the property within minutes of the alarm being raised.
No one was injured in the raid though the dancer and his family are said to be shocked.
Gardai and the dancer’s employees are now engaged in a detailed check of the house inventory.
The mansion – purchased by the star in 2001 for €4.5m – was renovated and refurbished at a cost of almost €30m.
The star has a hunting room in the property which included a mounted African rhino including its horn.
Gardai have confirmed that the rhino horn was stolen but are now checking to see what works of art, jewellery and books may be missing.
Gardai are now appealing for anyone who may have spotted suspicious activity near Castlehyde or along the Fermoy-Mallow Road.
They are also checking CCTV security camera footage from premises in Fermoy to determine the movements of truck and vans.
Pope John Paul ll relic stolen from chapel in Italy
The church of San Pietro della Ienca lies in an isolated spot in the mountains of central Abruzzo region.
Over the weekend, thieves broke some protective iron bars and forced their way in through a window.
They left the collection box, but took a crucifix and the priceless relic, which contains a piece of gauze once soaked in the blood of the late Pope - one of only three such relics in the world.
Members of the local cultural association supporting the chapel are distraught.
"We are very displeased by the theft. We have no idea of who could have done it. The police are carrying out a search," said Franca Corrieri, a member of the association, speaking to the BBC.
The Pope used to escape the pressures of life in the Vatican by coming to the mountains.
"This is an area that John Paul II visited often, with his secretary and not too many bodyguards. We feel very connected to him. After his death, his secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, came and told us that he wanted this church to become a sanctuary," said Ms Corrieri.
Dozens of police officers are now searching the area with sniffer dogs.
Egyptian jewellery heist at Leicester museum kept quiet
Third theft at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery revealed after Freedom of Information request, £90,000 spent on security upgrade
This is not the first theft from New Walk Museum in recent years; in April 2012, two pieces of Asian jewellery were stolen, while in September 2012, three rhino horns also went missing. The museum has now spent £90,000 upgrading its security.