BERLIN, May 20 (UPI) -- Two bronzed horse sculptures that once stood in front of Adolf Hitler's chancellery when the Nazis were in power in Germany have been recovered by police as part of a black market investigation.
The "Walking Horses" stood in front of the chancellery during World War II but were seized by Soviet forces after the building was destroyed. Their whereabouts first became unknown in 1945 after they were hauled away by troops who wished to save them from being destroyed by bombs.
Five years later, they were rediscovered at a barracks near Berlin -- and disappeared again in 1988. They were found once again briefly a year later and vanished shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Now 26 years later, the sculptures were again recovered by police as part of a series of raids investigating black market art, BBC News reported Wednesday.
The "Walking Horses" had been stored in a warehouse in Bad Duerkheim, the Inquisitr reported.
Along with the horses, police also recovered a large granite artwork of muscled, shirtless fighters.
German newspaper Bild reported that the horse statues had been painted gold, damaged by bullets and played on by children.
The horses were created by official Nazi sculptor Josef Thorak.
Eight Germans, ranging in age from 64-years-old to 79-years-old, were arrested, the Inquisitr reported.
The "Walking Horses" had been put up for sale by art dealers in the black market in recent years, officials said, seeking a price of nearly $4.5 million.
The sculptures will now likely become official property of the German government, although it is not yet clear where they will be placed.