Helena Lyng Blak
2 weeks ago

9 Arrested in €2.5 Million Antique Book Heist

European police crack down on a sophisticated ring of book thieves, attempting to recover centuries-old stolen treasures.
kvkirillov / DepositPhotos
kvkirillov / DepositPhotos

On Thursday, April 25, 2024, Europol announced that European police had arrested a total of nine Georgian nationals suspected of having stolen a minimum of  170 antique, rare, and valuable books from libraries across Europe. 

More than 100 law enforcement officials were deployed to 27 different locations in Georgia and Latvia on ‘action day’, April 24, arresting four suspects, and trying to recover as many of the stolen books as possible. 

At the end of the day, officers found at least 150 books, many of which were hopefully some of the stolen titles.

In the days leading up to the multinational mobilization an additional three suspects had been arrested in Estonia, France, and Lithuania, and two were under ‘judicial supervision’ in France. All nine suspects are of Georgian nationality. 

Europol estimates that the damages amount to roughly €2.5 million as well as “an immeasurable patrimonial loss to society.”

The criminal group’s modus operandi was described by Europol as “straightforward yet sophisticated.”

The perpetrators would gain access to the books by feigning specific interest on one day, securing personal time with the books, during which the alleged thieves would measure and photograph the works before returning them to the library. 

They would then create counterfeit versions of the targeted books, and return days, weeks, or even months later, replacing the originals with their fake counterparts.

Ultimately, the group managed to steal books from national, historical, and university libraries in Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Switzerland.

The thieving group seemingly had an affinity for Russian literature. Among the stolen works were 17 rare Russian-language books stolen from Vilnius University, according to The Guardian, and four works by Russian Romantic Alexander Pushkin. 

In the end, the criminals allegedly found their prospective buyers in Russia, too. Europol explains that some of the stolen artifacts were sold through auction houses in St. Petersburg and Moscow, making them “effectively … irrecoverable.”


The information provided by this Site is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

More News

5 hours ago Israeli Airstrike Hits Rafah Tent Camp Israeli airstrike on Rafah camp kills dozens, raising international alarm.
5 hours ago Meta and Call of Duty Maker Sued by Families of School Shooting Victims Families of the 2022 Uvalde school shooting victims file lawsuits against major corporations and officials, claiming they contributed to the tragedy.
7 hours ago Walmart and Capital One Call It Quits on Partnership Walmart and Capital One announce the end of their six-year card partnership amidst legal disputes.
8 hours ago US Market Open - May 27, 2024: Wall Street Wavers but Nasdaq Soars Daily update from the US market open.
10 hours ago Crypto, Currently: May 27, 2024 - Ethereum Leads Weekly Surge, Bitcoin Holds Steady Daily update on Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more!
1 day ago Debunking the headline: US GDP grows by a third ahead of EU in 15 years Europeans need not worry as much as these articles would suggest.
1 day ago Empowering Women Could Boost Economic Growth, Says IMF Economists Discover how gender equality initiatives could transform economies in Japan and Korea.