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Police recover Bolivian presidential medal stolen while custodian at brothel

AFP  |  La Paz 

Police in today recovered a jewel-encrusted presidential medal which had been stolen the night before when its was reportedly visiting a brothel.

The guard, identified by police as Blanco, had been meant to deliver the historic medal and a tricolor sash to the to wear during his speech today in the central city of Cochabamba, according to a police report quoted by

But his flight late Tuesday was delayed and the instead decided to visit various brothels, the report said.

"I entered a number of these different establishments (brothels) but then returned to where I left my motor car," the report quoted Ortiz as having told police. "When I got there my backpack, which held the emblems of the nation, had been taken." Police

said the thieves had dumped the priceless symbols of state in the portico of a church in the center of the capital

"Thanks to the cooperation of Unitel," a television station that received an anonymous tip-off, "we have recovered the symbols in some black bags," he told reporters.

Morales -- who last wore the emblems on August 6, during -- appeared at the military parade Wednesday with neither medal nor sash.

He made no reference to their absence or to the theft, which had first been reported by the ministry of defense, which confirmed only that the of the medal had been detained as part of an investigation.

Aguilera, the police spokesman, said Peruvian thieves were believed to have been behind the robbery of his backpack and that authorities on the border with were on the look out for the suspects.

Former had earlier described the theft as "a hard blow for the republic," comparing the loss of the medal to "the theft of the crown of of England." The medal was a gift from the of the recently formed Bolivian republic to its founder in 1825 and was first used in 1826 as the presidential medal by

The gold medal, encrusted with precious stones, is normally kept in a secure vault at the Central Bank in but is delivered to the for ceremonial occasions. The defense ministry said earlier that the "intelligence service and all state institutions have been placed at the disposal of investigators to find those responsible for this theft as quickly as possible.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 09 2018. 01:35 IST