More on the Great British Book Heist that took place last January in Daily Beast:
Late in the night on Jan. 29, three still-unknown thieves drilled through the skylight of a building near Heathrow Airport and rappelled 40 feet to the floor, bypassing the security alarms.
They went straight to six specific crates that contained three dealers’ worth of books that were en route to the California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Oakland.
Over the course of several hours, they unloaded the books they wanted into duffel bags, belayed their loot to the roof, and took off in a waiting van. The haul totaled nearly $2.5 million.
“Behind these books there is a lot of work because we have to search to try to find out where the books are—auction houses, collectors, colleagues—and there’s big research behind these books,” Alessandro Meda Riquier, one of the affected dealers, tells Sky News. “They are not only taking money away from me but also a big part of my job.”
Riquier was the owner of several of the most noteworthy tomes that were taken in the heist. The most expensive book was a second edition of Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres from 1566 in which the astronomer introduced his revolutionary theory that the sun—not the Earth—is the center of the universe.
That book alone is worth over $250,000. Among the rest of the trove are several rare editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy and a smattering of Galileos, Newtons, and da Vincis, among other titles from the luminaries of the early sciences.
All in all, it is the quantity of books stolen rather than the individual titles that make this heist so significant.
“The books were there for only a short time in that warehouse, and this is a very exotic commodity so this is not something that the average person thinks that they can sell,” Jeremy Norman, a rare book dealer with a specialty in the early sciences, tells The Daily Beast. “I think it’s a real mystery. You really wonder how they knew the stuff was there, and the timing of it, and how they were shipped off, and what the real motivation was.”
Several theories have been offered as to why the thieves went after this quarry. One suggests that this may have been a “made to order” theft, one in which a buyer specifically commissioned the thieves to take these titles.
Similar to fine art, stolen antique books are very difficult to sell on the legitimate market—and thereby net the title’s full value. When a rare book crime becomes known, organizations like the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) quickly take action to alert their members to the volumes that were stolen so dealers can be on the lookout for anyone trying to offload a tainted treasure.
The Guardian reports on a highly unusual case of burglary.
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.
According to the Mail on Sunday, one 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.
Alessandro Meda Riquier, a rare book dealer, said a number of his volumes had been taken. He told Sky News: “I’m very upset because this is not something you can buy everywhere. Behind these books there is a lot of work because we have to search to try to find out where the books are – auction houses, collectors, colleagues – and there’s big research behind these books.”
He added: “They are not only taking money away from me but also a big part of my job.”
Brian Lake, of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, said: “Nothing like this has hit the rare books trade before.” Authorities have not yet ascertained what will become of the books but it is thought that the most likely scenario is that they were stolen to order.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the creation last December 1st of a Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, which predictably issued a blistering report finding that the cats were hostile toward rats and mice and prone to treat them roughly.
So, the Chicago Police, long noted for their toughness, have obviously been obliged to take a step back and avoid provoking complaints from the urban underclass population.
Whoever could have imagined that the next thing we read in the papers would be the shooting death of middle-aged white Chicagoan at what would previously have been considered a location totally safe from street crime in the very heart of downtown Chicago?
Jeffrey Carter, a blogger and upper middle-class resident of downtown Chicago, was naturally shocked and alarmed.
Yesterday, we drove back from Minnesota. As I pulled down Wabash an unmarked police car raced down the street in front of me. A policeman got out, left the door to his car open, and drew his gun. He started running.
We wheeled our way into our garage. There were police cars all over Michigan Avenue. That’s where the shooting was.
This looks to be a random act of violence, not a gang crime or terrorism. No law in the world would have stopped it.
My neighborhood has the usual city crime. It has a lot of it-but it’s crimes of opportunity. Shoplifting. Stealing personal items from people. Small time robbery. Never shootings. There are bums on every street corner panhandling and many of them have gotten very belligerent. I saw that they are having similar problems in New York City. I have seen the same people panhandling in the same spots for years and years and years. …
The police force in Chicago is overtaxed. They are under assault from independent groups, and from politicians. Certainly, there are some bad apples and they can be taken care of. But, it feels like it’s a part of a much broader organized top down movement. Many of the arrests in Charlotte, NC were not local people. They were imported from out of state. No doubt, it’s because North Carolina is a state in political play. I noticed there were no protests in Oklahoma.
The shootings that go on in other neighborhoods are part of a broader gang war. If the US would change drug policy, the violence would decrease. Milton Friedman was right about the War on Drugs. There is only so much a city government can do to stop that kind of violence, although very liberal gun laws might help. Changing educational policy to allow for school choice would help. Lowering minimum wage and mandatory union laws so people could have better opportunities to find work would help.
Politicians say they want to do something-but their solutions are always the same. More laws, more regulations, higher taxes. At the same time, the gang leaders help them get out the vote, so there is little incentive to change when politicians are just interested in power and not helping the electorate.
If you lose the lakefront and the Loop, you will lose Chicago. My wife and I have always said, upper middle class and wealthy people will put up with a lot to live in a city. They’ll pay taxes to a point and absorb the increased cost, to a point. It is convenient and all the things that come with city living are great. But, as soon as they don’t feel secure, they are out.
We haven’t reached that tipping point, but that’s the way momentum is going right now.
The shooting victim, Peter Fabbri age 54, died on Sunday. (Chicago Tribune)
Chicago is a one-party city, and its democrat rulers are dependent on votes from minorities. If those pols continue to represent preferentially that particular constituency and to address its grievances, Chicago police will continue to be handcuffed, crime will increase dramatically and violent crime will expand into good neighborhoods. The inevitable consequence will be white flight, the collapse of commerce and real estate values, and the transformation of Chicago into Detroit.
The Rio Olympics went off with a bang on the eve of the opening ceremonies.
A man initially described by Brazilian authorities as a Russian diplomat killed a would-be robber with the assailant’s own gun on Thursday near the city’s Olympic Park. The decedent smashed the man’s window in an alleged robbery attempt. The prey-turned-predator reportedly struggled with the man, used jiu-jitsu to pull the assailant into the car, and then secured the thief’s own gun, which he used to shoot his attacker.
Eric Shawn believes that his investigation proves that he found the man who killed Jimmy Hoffa.
It was a hot July afternoon, nearly 92 degrees, when Teamsters president and labor icon Jimmy Hoffa is said to have opened the rear door of a maroon 1975 Mercury in the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. and climbed in.
He was never seen again.
The FBI has expended countless resources in the ensuing decades in the hopes of finally solving this enduring American mystery with no success.
But I believe, based on my 2004 investigation, that Frank Sheeran did it. …
Sheeran, known as “The Irishman,” told me that he drove with Hoffa to a nearby house where he shot him twice in the back of the head. Our investigation subsequently yielded the corroboration, the suspected blood evidence on the hardwood floor and down the hallway of that house, that supports Frank’s story.
An attempted bicycle theft in a Walmart parking lot was foiled by a cattle rancher on horseback, who chased the thief down and lassoed him until the local police in southern Oregon could arrive.
The bicycle was stolen from a bike rack outside a Walmart in Eagle Point, a town about 170 miles south of Eugene, Oregon, at around 10amon Friday morning. The woman who owned the bike and several others gave chase on foot but were unable to catch him.
Then a rancher named Robert Borba brought his horse out of its trailer, mounted up and chased the thief down, according to Chris Adams, an officer with the Eagle Point police who responded to the 911 call about the theft.
“When we arrived, there was a large crowd standing around a younger gentleman who was on the ground, the rope around his ankle, hanging on to a tree,” Adams said. Victorino Arellano-Sanchez was arrested and charged with theft, the police said.
Here’s an interesting factoid about contemporary policing: In 2014, for the first time ever, law enforcement officers took more property from American citizens than burglars did. Martin Armstrong pointed this out at his blog, Armstrong Economics, last week.
And the figures mentioned refer only to Federal Asset Forfeiture!
Not unlike the scene just outside our window last night.
Around 10:15 PM EST, Karen and I had just finished watching Vincent Price hamming it up in House of Seven Gables (1963), when our saluki (who had already had his last outside call for the evening) was found peering intently out the window.
Outside the window were three bird-feeders on poles standing in a small clearing and our dog had previously detected an opossum visiting at night to mop up fallen seeds lying on the ground. He had developed a real enthusiasm for that possum, and kept looking for him weeks after the varmint had been last seen.
Last night, though, Uhlan was looking out the window so intently that I suspected his beloved possum had finally returned. Karen went over to the window and looked, and saw that two poles were bent over and two rifled feeders were lying on the ground.
She retrieved the flashlight from the other end of the room and handed it to me. When I aimed the light out the window, the culprit was visible. It was a fully-grown black bear, sitting about ten feet from the house and looking guilty.
This was not the first time that bears had raided our birdfeeders. I had previously vowed revenge, and I had a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson all ready for just such an occasion, sitting on a bookcase near the door, its first two chambers loaded with ratshot.
I reached for the revolver, but soft-hearted Karen intervened on the criminal’s behalf, saying “Don’t you shoot that bear!”
Sigh! What can you do? I’d been looking forward to applying a load of number 12 ratshot where it would do the most good, but wives are wives. I contented myself with opening the door and firing a shot out into the (empty) front field. The loud report and the flame (visible at night) issuing from the barrel naturally made some impression of Mr. Bear, who (as Karen who had been watching, reported) levitated out of the area in great haste.
Previously, one or another bear had absconded with two feeders, which were not seen again or found long afterward totally destroyed. This time, we recovered all the feeders fully intact, and one of them was even still full of sunflower seeds.