Yucatán, unlike other states in the country, is not considered a critical point in terms of theft of pieces of sacred art inside the temples, however, many religious objects owned by particulars have been stolen.
“The theft of sacred art affects the churches that were declared heritage of the nation, with the confiscation of ecclesiastical property decreed by the government of Benito Juárez. Therefore, when a religious piece of value is the object of a robbery, it is the obligation of the federal authority to prosecute that crime, “explained the expert of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Cuauhtémoc Garcés Fierros.
He explained that there are legal gaps that leave this crime unpunished, because it is considered lawful to sell this type of items to private individuals, therefore, these can be found in homes, office buildings or haciendas.
“What is usual in Yucatan is that many people keep religious images or paintings in their homes, but often they do not know their true monetary value,” he said.
He explained that in Yucatan the theft of sacred art is not a big problem: “the issue is the ignorance of the owners of religious objects and their economic need.”
“There are cases in which highly valued art pieces have been sold for 100 pesos (5 USD), and then taken to an antique store, where they ask for several thousand pesos, depending on the age and the rarity of each work, “Garcés Fierros concluded.
TYT Newsroom with information from SIPSE