Widow sentenced in Israeli museum heist

March 2, 2010 at 1:50 PM

LOS ANGELES, March 2 (UPI) -- The widow of Israel's most notorious cat burglar was convicted in Los Angeles of trying to sell items stolen from a Jerusalem museum, California officials said.

Nili Shamrat, 64, of Tarzana, was sentenced to five years probation and 300 hours of community service after being convicted last Tuesday of receiving stolen property.

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said investigators from his agency worked alongside Israeli National Police and Los Angeles County prosecutors in convicting Shamrat of attempting to sell watches, clocks and other artifacts taken in 1983 from the L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem.

One of the missing items was a pocket watch made for Marie Antoinette by Abraham Louis Breguet in the 18th century.

Shamrat was once married to Na'aman Diller, whom Poizner said was an accomplished burglar in Israel in the 1960s and 1970s. He died in 2003 after marrying Shamrat, who was living in Tarzana at the time.

Israeli police got wind of the loot's location through a tip from a Tel Aviv watch expert who had been asked by Shamrat's lawyer to appraise some antique timepieces the expert recognized as coming from the museum break-in.

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