2 hundred “culturally vital” books – together with works by means of Sir Isaac Newton and astronomer Galileo – that had been stolen in a Project: Unattainable-style raid in west London had been discovered buried underground in Romania.
The books, value greater than £2.5m, had been taken in a “extremely refined” housebreaking at a warehouse in Feltham in January 2017, the Metropolitan Police mentioned.
Thieves broke in by means of reducing holes within the roof of the warehouse after which abseiled down, keeping off movement sensor alarms.
The books – which have been because of be flown to a consultant public sale in Las Vegas – had been stolen in 16 massive baggage, with the raiders fleeing the warehouse in the course of the roof.
Chatting with Sky Information in a while after the raid, guide broker Alessandro Meda Riquier mentioned the stolen works incorporated his 1566 2nd version of Nicolaus Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which was once reportedly value round £215,000 and was once described as the “jewel” within the haul.
He mentioned he had additionally misplaced vital books by means of Galileo and really uncommon editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
A global police operation was once introduced to recuperate the “irreplaceable” pieces and on Wednesday they had been came upon buried underground at a rural belongings in Neamt, Romania.
Detective Inspector Andy Durham mentioned the restoration was once “a really perfect finish” to a police operation involving officials in London, Romania and Italy.
“Those books are extraordinarily precious, however extra importantly they’re irreplaceable and are of significant significance to global cultural heritage,” he added.
The Met Police mentioned it had known suspects who had been a part of a Romanian organised crime workforce which was once answerable for high-value warehouse burglaries throughout the United Kingdom.
The gang is related to a number of distinguished Romanian crime households known as the Clamparu, which has a historical past of advanced high-value thefts however has principally have shyed away from prosecution by means of offending outdoor Romania.
Police discovered proof of every other 11 offences dedicated in the United Kingdom, by which an extra £2m value of belongings was once stolen – with the offenders usually the use of the similar means of getting into in the course of the roof.
As a part of the investigation, there have been coordinated arrests and searches of 45 houses throughout the United Kingdom, Romania and Italy in June 2019.
13 other people had been charged with conspiring to devote burglaries and procure prison belongings between December 2016 and April 2019.
Twelve other people have pleaded to blame and are because of sentenced subsequent week, the Met Police mentioned.
A 13th defendant is because of face trial in March.