Fifteen members of a Romanian organised crime gang have been arrested after breaking into a warehouse in Feltham and stealing priceless books including rare first editions from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The books were being stored in the warehouse in January 2017, prior to being shipped to Los Angeles where they were due to be displayed at a book fair. The books included original copies of works by Galileo and Newton.
The OCG members stole the books by avoiding all security systems and left the UK together with the stolen books.
The efforts to track down the gang were co-ordinated by Eurojust and Europol. Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation unit, supported the execution of several European arrest warrants issued by the UK authorities towards Romania.
During three coordination meetings, held at Eurojust in The Hague, and four operational meeting at Europol, the countries involved exchanged case-related information and evidence, solved judicial issues as they arose, and decided on the best place to prosecute.
The Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organise Crime and Terrorism, the Romanian National Police, the UK Metropolitan Police Service Specialist Crime South and the Italian Carabinieri Special Unit for the Protection of Cultural Heritage participated in the joint action.