Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Major Book Thefts Discovered in Italy

The AP reports that Italian art squad detectives have discovered - but not yet arrested - a man responsible for major book and archives thefts around Italy. The man, who has not been identified except as being in his mid-forties, "sometimes disguised himself as a priest and even locked himself in a bathroom for a day[, and] managed to sneak away with dozens of 300-year-old books, drawings and watercolors from top libraries and public archives in Rome, authorities said Monday."

"Italian police recovered dozens of items, worth at least €650,000 (US$921,635), including 17th-century diaries, drawings that chronicled life in Rome, scientific books and watercolors dating from the 1700s in raids at the man's home and storerooms." Art squad head Gen. Giovanni Nistri said the suspect altered books and documents using ink remover, coffee and other methods. Nistri told the press some of the stolen items are believed to have been sold in France.

And Rome may be just the beginning. "The suspect ... has been convicted of similar thefts in Turin and is believed to have stolen papers in Modena, Turin and Florence in recent months." But he's not been arrested, because he's said to be cooperating and authorities believe there is no "immediate risk" that he'll flee.

"An undersecretary in the Culture Ministry, Danielle Gattegno Mazzonis, said the ministry was planning to increase staff and set up alarm systems to monitor libraries and public archives because the trafficking is increasing."

More as I can find it. Any ideas on how to check conviction records from Turin?

No comments: