herald

Monday 23 April 2018

Library worker is held over theft of €100k documents

A 35-year-old employee of the National Library of Ireland has been arrested by detectives after a major investigation into the suspected theft of a number of valuable items from the building.

When detectives from the Arts and Antiques Unit of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) raided the man's home in Clonsilla, west Dublin, they recovered around 250 books, pamphlets, artefacts and other memorabilia.

The Herald has learned that some of the material relates to the 1916 Easter Rising and sources have estimated that it could be worth around €100,000.

Gardai have been working on the theory that the suspect may have been involved in thefts from the library, which is based at Kildare Street in Dublin city centre, for up to a year before his arrest yesterday.

It is understood that the Arts and Antiques Unit of the NBCI have been monitoring the suspect for a number of months after suspicions were raised about his activities.

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Last night, the suspect, who was not previously known to gardai, remained in custody at Lucan Garda Station.

When contacted by The Herald, a spokesperson at the National Library refused to comment on the case.

"I am aware of the case but we won't be commenting," she said.

A garda spokesman said that images of the stolen items would not be released for operational reasons.

Gardai say that all the stolen items have now been recovered.

The specialist unit involved in yesterday's arrest are one of the least known of the garda units based at Harcourt Square.

However, they have been involved in a number of high profile investigations in recent times.

Earlier this year, they helped British police to recover priceless medieval coins, spearheads and axes looted using metal detectors and smuggled out of Ireland.

kfoy@herald.ie

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