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Warsaw. Theft of books from BUW. The prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation

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The prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation into the theft of volumes from the University library in Warsaw. Investigators revealed that eight 19th-century books, printed in Cyrillic, were lost. The value of the losses was estimated at a minimum of PLN 200,000.

– Today (Thursday, November 2 – editor) the Warsaw Śródmieście Północ District Prosecutor’s Office received materials transferred from the Warsaw I District Police Headquarters regarding the theft of volumes that occurred in the University of Warsaw Library. On Thursday, November 2, an investigation was initiated into a case of theft of property of significant value, punishable by up to 10 years in prison – said the spokesman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, Prosecutor Szymon Banna.

Eight books worth PLN 200,000 were stolen

The prosecutor noted that so far it has been established that the theft of books took place on October 16, 2023 in the BUW reading room at Dobra 6 in Warsaw. – The books were borrowed by a woman and a man and were not returned in full. Only two of the 10 books ordered by the above-mentioned people and their fascicles remain, he said.

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– There were eight missing books, all published between 1827 and 1842 in what is now Russia, i.e. in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The books were printed in Cyrillic. These are special collections of particular importance for science. The value of the losses is approximately no less than PLN 200,000, but according to the information sent by the BUW, the volumes fetch a higher price at auctions and to fully determine the value it will be necessary to appoint an expert, Banna explained.

The director was fired and her deputy filed a complaint

The deputy director of the library submitted a notification in this regard.

On October 31, the rector of the University of Warsaw, prof. Alojzy announced that Mrs. Anna Wołodko, the current director of BUW, was dismissed. The appeal is a reaction to information about the theft of several dozen valuable volumes from the University Library’s collections.

Theft on behalf of Russian auction houses?

On Tuesday evening, the dismissed director, Anna Wołodko, published a statement on the X website (formerly Twitter). She informed that the theft of eight volumes of Russian old prints from the 19th century was discovered in mid-October.

“Someone left covers at the workplace with dummies of the original editions inside them. After checking, it turned out that there are more such dummies returned to the warehouse. According to the findings so far, about 80 volumes have been replaced,” wrote Anna Wołodko. She added that the inspection was still ongoing at BUW, and the vice-rector and the police knew about the case. In her opinion, the thefts were commissioned, probably for auction houses and antique shops operating on the Russian market.

Main photo source: Photocon/Shutterstock

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