Rare artifacts connected to Napoleon Bonaparte, including a lock of his hair, have been stolen from a museum in Australia, local police say.
Police believe thieves broke into The Briars historic homestead, south of Melbourne, through a bathroom window.
The thieves “jemmied open cabinets” on Thursday night and stole items that also included a ring, a statement from the police said.
The collection was assembled by a family with ties to the French emperor.
“The offender/s have jemmied open cabinets inside and stolen numerous priceless antiques,” the Victoria state police said in a statement.
“The stolen items included a ring and flowers containing Napoleon’s hair, a ribbon inscribed by Napoleon in 1815 and a snuff box,” it added.
Local reports quoted museum officials as saying that descendants of Englishman Alexander Balcombe, who met Napoleon in exile on St Helena Island, put the collection together.
“Alexander Balcombe settled here [in Australia] in 1846 and sat on Napoleon’s knee as a little boy,” museum co-ordinator Steve York told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Really they’re priceless, because they can’t be replaced. We’re quite distraught. Irreplaceable,” Mr York said of the objects taken.
Police are asking the public for any information regarding the theft.
“We think this was a fairly targeted theft,” Detective Senior Sergeant Michael Lamb told ABC, adding that it would be difficult to publicly dispose of the artefacts.