Saturday, January 02, 2010

Book Thief Jacques Nabbed, Finally

It's been more than a year since we last had an update on William Simon Jacques, 40, who went missing last May after skipping bail on charges that he stole books from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The authorities finally caught up with Jacques on Christmas day, arresting him in Selby, Yorkshire. He appeared in City of Westminster magistrates court, where he was charged with the theft of Ambroise Verschaffelt's Nouvelle Iconographie des Camellias (1849-1860), a set totaling 13 volumes and worth £40,000-50,000, between December 2006 and February 2007. Jacques is believed to have signed into the library using a false name ("Mr. Santoro").

Jacques has also been charged, the BBC notes, with "going equipped to commit theft." His next court date is 21 January.

You can see images from the Verschaffelt camellia books here (please note these are not the volumes Jacques is accused of stealing; those have not been recovered). There's a picture of Jacques in this 2008 BBC report.

Police have asked antiquarian booksellers to keep an eye out for the camellia volumes - which are, I fear, probably already separated into individual plates (I sure hope I'm wrong about that). I'll keep a weather-eye on the case as it proceeds.

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