Saturday, May 17, 2008

European Map Thief Sentenced in Denmark

Peter Joseph Bellwood, 56, was sentenced in Copenhagen this week to one year in prison (to be followed by five years' expulsion from Denmark) plus 324,000 kroner ($67,000). Bellwood cut eleven maps out of books belonging to the Danish Royal Library in 2001, and turned himself in after surveillance footage from the library was aired on the British television program "Crime Watch."

Bellwood confessed to the Royal Library thefts, and also to additional thefts committed at the National Library of Wales, for which he received a 4.5-year prison sentence in 2004. He'll begin his Danish sentence once he finishes his time in the British slammer.

The maps had been valued at 1 million kroner ($210,000) by Christie's, but the judge did not accept that valuation, nor the library's call for 4.2 million kroner in compensation for the damage done to the books by Bellwood. The maps, which were sold, have not been recovered.