US returns stolen antique books to Sweden

AP News
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Posted: Jun 17, 2015 2:58 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Two rare 17th century books stolen from the National Library of Sweden are being returned to the Scandinavian country.

U.S. authorities say a repatriation ceremony was held Wednesday in New York.

The books were among dozens of precious manuscripts stolen by a library employee between 1995 and 2004.

Authorities say Anders Burius confessed to the thefts in 2004 and committed suicide a short time later.

He sold or consigned them to a German auction house under an assumed name.

Two New York booksellers purchased the books, including a 1619 work on the history of optics. One book was later sold to Cornell University. The booksellers and Cornell were unaware of the thefts.

The U.S. attorney's office says the parties voluntarily surrendered the items so they could be returned to Sweden.