Thieves steal £2m of rare books by abseiling into warehouse


Via The Passive Voice, this really startling article at the Guardian:

Antiquarian books worth more than £2m have been stolen by a gang who avoided a security system by abseiling into a west London warehouse.

The three thieves made off with more than 160 publications after raiding the storage facility near Heathrow in what has been labelled a Mission: Impossible-style break-in.

The gang are reported to have climbed on to the building’s roof and bored holes through the reinforced glass-fibre skylights before rappelling down 40ft of rope while avoiding motion-sensor alarms.

Scotland Yard confirmed that “a number of valuable books”, many from the 15th and 16th centuries, were stolen during the burglary in Feltham between 29 and 30 January.

That just … are you sure we haven’t fallen into a novel? I can’t believe this actually happened.

Maybe eventually we’ll see a movie about this.

[O]ne dealer lost £680,000 worth of material. Experts said the most valuable item in the stolen haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, worth about £215,000. … Among the other books stolen were early works by Galileo, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci and a 1569 edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

When we talk about valuable rare books, we’re not messing around.

The article suggests these was job-for-hire, with a particular collector behind the theft, because these books would be impossible to sell at auction.

Really, this cries out for a movie.

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