Police have identified the person who they suspect stole three vases and a clock from Valletta’s Grand Master’s Palace earlier this month.

Multiple sources close to the investigation said police are closing in on the mysterious theft after tracing the suspect in footage from several security cameras in the area.

The three vases and the clock – valued at €13,000 in total – have not been recovered yet.

It is not yet known why the suspect has not yet been arrested, with sources only saying that the case is “ongoing”.

Heritage Malta issued a statement just over two weeks ago to reveal the disappearance of the artefacts.

The items went missing from halls within the palace, which was reopened to the public earlier this year following five years of intense restoration that has more than doubled its accessibility to visitors.

The disappearance of the vases and the clock came less than a month since two gold medals valued at €400,000 were stolen from the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa.

The medals were traced inside the residence of a man who was charged over their theft and granted bail. The court heard how the medals had sustained “irreversible damage” until they were recovered.

Justin Mallia, 25, from Cospicua had allegedly posed as an official from the education department, visiting the museum to deliver documents when he stole the gold medals to settle debts.

The Malta Maritime Museum has since beefed up security and launched an internal probe into the theft.

Stone marker case remains unsolved

One case involving another artefact of national heritage, however, remains unsolved, as police are yet to conclude investigations or charge anyone over a British-era stone-marker spotted inside Minister Anton Refalo’s Gozo home in 2022.

The public first got to know that Refalo had the stone marker in the garden of his Qala house when a photo posted on social media by one of his family members showed the stone in the background.

The marker bears the inscription VR (Victoria Regina). Stones like it used to dot Malta and Gozo to mark confines of territories and are now protected by law.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage had confirmed it found the artefact in Refalo’s house.

The stage of the investigation remains unclear and Refalo has not been charged over the case. When questioned about it, Refalo would not comment and would not even say whether the stone is still at his house.

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