Romanian authorities have discovered a collection of rare old books buried under the floor of a house in northern Romania that were stolen from a warehouse in the UK three years ago.
Acting on a European investigation order, police raided a house in the country of Neamt on Sept. 18, Eurojust said in a press release Thursday.
The cultural loot included first editions of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton from the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
The tomes were stolen from a warehouse in Feltham, west London, in 2017.
The BBC reported that about 200 „irreplaceable” books were worth more than 2.5 million pounds.
It said the thieves cut holes in the roof of a warehouse in Feltham then abseiled in, dodging sensors.
The men were identified as being part of a Romanian organized crime gang.The gang is responsible for a series of high-value warehouse burglaries across the UK, London’s Metropolitan police said in a statement.
The books will now be sent to Italy for examination in order to confirm their authenticity.
This discovery is the result of cooperation between the UK Metropolitan Police, the Italian Carabinieri, the Romanian Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism, and Romanian national police officers, Eurojust said.
The investigation was supported by Eurojust and Europol.
The individuals who are suspected with the theft are currently in pretrial detention in the Britain. They have been charged with conspiring to commit burglaries between December 2016 and April 2019 and to obtain criminal property.
Twelve have already pleaded guilty and the sentencing is due to take place end of September 2020.
In January 2020, a Romanian national who was the kingpin behind the cultural loot was detained in Turin, Italy in what was the key to cracking the case.
This operation is considered a double success for law enforcement who tracked down the suspects and recovered the stolen treasures before they on sale.