Museum Security Network

Brazilian rare book's thief sentenced to five years in prison Criminal stole five books of 17th and 19th centuries from a library in Rio de Janeiro

12/03/2008 12h49

The Federal Public Ministry in Rio de Janeiro (MPF / RJ) won in court the conviction of Laessio Rodrigues de Oliveira to five years in prison for theft of rare books from the library of the Institute for Research Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro.

Five years ago, he stole the three volumes of “Amphibia”, by Johan Baptist von Spix (1839), the “Nova genera et species plantarum quas in itinere annis 1817-1820”, by Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1824), and the “Exactissima Descriptio Rariorum Quarundam Plantarum”, by Tobias Aldinus [i.e. Pietro Castelli] (1625). The volumes were estimated at US$ 16,000, US$ 23,000 and US$ 5,300. The 2nd Federal Criminal Branch of Rio de Janeiro condemned Laessio de Oliveira for qualified robbery.

The crime, committed at the end of 2003, was established in March 2004 with the completion of the inventory of the rare books from the library.
In that year, Laessio de Oliveira was arrested with other books with him, stolen from the collection of the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro. In his house, he had also books from the Historic Archive of Blumenau, in Santa Catarina, and the Mario de Andrade Library, in Sao Paulo. With his conviction, Oliveira will remain in the same prison from which he responded to the process.

“The Justice has set a high penalty consistent with the seriousness of the crime. After all, were stolen rare books of historical and scientific value that were traded illegally. It was considered the personality of the accused, turned to crimes such as these and other aggravating things, such as to sign a false name in the book of visits”, said District Attorney Jaime Mitropoulos.

Media Office / Prosecutor’s office in Rio de Janeiro
Phone: (21) 2107-9488 / 9460

Original Text in Portuguese:

Rizio Bruno Sant’Ana
Rare Book Curator
Mario de Andrade Library
Sao Paulo, Brazil

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