A 15-year-old boy has pleaded guilty in a Chinese art heist case that occurred at Cambridge University's Fitzwilliam Museum in April. According to the Cambridge News, the teenager has admitted to stealing "culturally significant" Chinese artifacts from the museum, aided by three twentysomething men -- Patrick Kiely, Steven Coughlan, and Robert Smith.
The items stolen from the museum by the young burglar and his older conspirators include 18 precious stone items from the Fitzwilliam's permanent collection. Among them was a jade 16th century carved buffalo, a 17th century carved horse, and a jade elephant, all dated to the Ming Dynasty. They were removed from their smashed display cases after the thieves used a disc cutter to create a hole in the back wall of the museum through which they entered. No exact value has been attributed to the heist; however, police have estimated the stolen artifacts at several million pounds. Chief Inspector Jim McCrorie told Cambridge News: "Sadly the items, which are of huge cultural significance, have still not been traced but we remain committed to pursuing new lines of enquiry that could lead to us recovering them.”
The three men and their adolescent partner in crime will return to Cambridge Crown Court in late September for their sentencing.