Friday, November 24, 2006

German Library Thieves to be Tried

The Times (UK) reports today on an upcoming book-theft trial in Germany, where Ludwig M. and Reinhold K. will face the music for stealing nearly a million dollars' worth of early botanicals from the University of Erlangen. Reinhold, a night porter at the library, has been snatching books from the stacks for several decades: "Police found books stacked in his garage and followed the trail to a bookseller, Ludwig M., who allegedly commissioned the thefts according to the market value of botany and zoology classics."

Library director Hans Otto Keunecke said "The thief didn’t have to break down a door or force a lock. He had unrestricted access to our most priceless possessions. He worked for us for 40 years and had all the necessary keys."

The article notes that while both the thief and the crooked dealer have confessed to the thefts, their defense team will argue that because many of the thefts took place more than a decade ago, a statute of limitations applies on those counts.

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