The investigation into the theft of volumes from the University of Warsaw Library was transferred to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw. According to prosecutor Szymon Banna, the decision was made due to the international dimension of the case.
Banna said that specialists from the Military Affairs Department are now handling the investigation. He added that during the investigation, the Rector of the University of Warsaw reported further cases of theft that had occurred since December 2022. Dozens of original books from the University of Warsaw library were stolen and replaced with dummies.
Similar cases of theft
– Although the stolen books are not formally recognized as monuments, they have high cultural value and a unique character. A specialist from the University of Warsaw conducted a query of the library’s collection, providing a list of items along with their estimated collector value. The currently estimated value of losses is approximately EUR 0.5 million, however, the ongoing audit at the University of Warsaw Library may result in an increase in this amount – explained prosecutor Banna.
He added that similar theft cases also occurred in the Baltic countries. – In January this year, a meeting of the international team of prosecutors within Eurojust, which prosecutes perpetrators of similar crimes, was held. The District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw actively participated in this meeting, participating in the discussion remotely, he said.
Currently, the prosecutor’s office has ordered fingerprint and genetic tests and is continuing to interview witnesses. – The proceedings are of a development nature and as part of them, we will also actively use the opportunity to cooperate with law enforcement authorities of countries where similar crimes have occurred – noted the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.
Investigation into the theft at the University of Warsaw Library
On November 2, an investigation was initiated into the theft of volumes that occurred at the University of Warsaw Library. The prosecutor’s office then informed that the theft of books took place on October 16, 2023 in the BUW reading room at ul. Dobra 6 in Warsaw. “The books were borrowed by a woman and a man and were not returned in their entirety. Only two of the 10 books ordered by the above-mentioned people and their fascicles remain,” prosecutor Banna said at the time.
Rector of the University of Warsaw prof. Alojzy Z. Nowak, in a statement issued a day after the start of the investigation, said that the theft of valuable items from the resources of the University of Warsaw Library probably lasted from December 2022 to October 16, 2023, although it could have started even earlier. The BUW confirmed the presence of a person suspected of theft in Latvian libraries. The rector then announced that approximately 80 items had been stolen, but the audit was still ongoing.
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