Hobby Lobby returns the 3.8k artifacts it ‘accidentally’ stole from Iraq

Hobby Lobby, the Bible-loving craft store that paid a $3m fine for smuggling antique artifacts into the US, is finally returning 3,800 relics to their cultural homeland of Iraq.


May 3, 2018

After coughing up a $3m penalty for smuggling thousands of black market artifacts into the US last year, Hobby Lobby is finally returning its loot.

Steve Green, the owner of the craft-supply store, used Hobby Lobby to “accidentally” smuggle 3.8k relics out of Iraq last year to fill his Museum of the Bible.

It ain’t easy for yarn-sellers to hop into the criminal underworld

The Lobby (whose $4.3B in revenue makes it one of the 100 largest private US companies) claimed it “should have exercised more oversight,” but they were “new to the world of acquiring these items, and did not fully appreciate the complexities.”

Here’s a rule of thumb: When you wire money to 5 people at 7 accounts and receive a FedEx package of “clay tiles” containing your multimillion-dollar purchase — it’s probably time for “more oversight.”

But, whether the Hob-Lobbers were crafty geniuses or just dummies, they had no trouble finding sellers to slice off someone else’s heritage.

Green seems unfazed

“Our passion for the Bible continues,” he said. “We will do all that we can to support the efforts to conserve items that will help illuminate and enhance our understanding of this Great Book.”

Even without the 3.8k items returned, the museum is filled with 40k other Biblical artifacts worth $800m. It’s open — even on Sundays.

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