Rare books including first editions of significant works by Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton worth over three million dollars that were stolen from a warehouse in west London have been recovered buried under the floor of a house in Romania. Around 200 books were recovered due to a three-year police operation that involved raids on 45 addresses in three countries and charges against 13 people.
The books were stolen in January 2017 from the postal transit warehouse located in Feltham en route to a book auction in Las Vegas. Victor Opariuc and Daniel David broke inside after cutting holes into the roof of the warehouse. In a five-hour operation, they took the books out in 16 holdalls and left at 2.15 am with a third man who was waiting in a car.
Books Worth Over 3 Million Dollars Recovered
After the trials of almost all the men involved in the heist, who got tracked down after a DNA sample was found on a headrest in the car, the books were tracked down to Neamt located in north-Romania. The local cops who conducted a search at the property found the books that included Newton's Principia, stacked in a cement pit.
The Metropolitan police said the recovery was a tribute to the cooperation between the British, Italian, and Romanian police. "These books are extremely valuable, but more importantly they are irreplaceable and are of great importance to international cultural heritage," DI Andy Durham said as reported by The Guardian.
The suspects have been identified as a part of a crime group from Romania responsible for a string of high-value ware heists all over the UK. The Met stated that the gang had avoided prosecutions as members were flown into the UK for committing specific offenses and flown out after the crimes got completed. The gang was also linked to famous Romanian crime families, as per Met. The group also conducted successful raids stealing laptops and other electronics worth thousands of dollars.