A Palestinian Arab man lured his four children into attempting to steal Second Temple-era antiquities, the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) announced Wednesday, by claiming there was a "demon" hiding treasure there.
The IAA's Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery arrested six suspects overnight Tuesday/Wednesday for attempted robbery to the cave, including the man, all four children, and a family friend. All six are residents of the Issawiya neighborhood next to Hebrew University, Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.
The six were caught with digging tools next to the cave, which is very close to the university campus. The father claims he is an exorcist by profession and told his children it was his duty to extract the "demon" from the site.
“This is the second time in the past year that the Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit stopped antiquities robbers at this important site,” IAA inspector Uzi Rotstein stated.
"The Mount Scopus area is one of the areas with the most graves from the Second Temple period in Jerusalem," he continued, explaining that deep in the caverns are often personal belongings area residents would request be placed with them during burial. "These objects were considered of great value during ancient times, and they still have value today."
“Apparently, teams of robbers hoping to find antiquities in the burial sites hope to steal the objects, which are protected in their entirety because they were in the grave for hundreds and thousands of years.”
“Anyone who thinks they are going to find treasures is likely to instead find himself in custody at the police station,” he warned, adding that stealing antiquities is a crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison.