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Valuable Books Stolen in Russia

November 13, 2002

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) _ Police detained a woman Wednesday suspected in the theft of a first edition of Isaac Newton’s main work and two other valuable books from libraries in St. Petersburg.

A copy of Newton’s ``Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy″ published in London in 1687, and a 1913 illustrated edition of poems by Russian futurist Konstantin Bolshakov were stolen from the Russian National Library on Nov. 6.

Library official Anton Likhmanov said two people came in that day and submitted passports and higher education certificates required to use the exclusive institution. They ordered the two books and never returned them, he said, adding that the passports turned out to be fake.

On the same day, an 1813 edition of English philosopher Robert Owen’s ``New View of Society″ was taken from the reading room of the Russian Academy of Sciences Library.

A 29-year-old woman has been taken into custody in the case and police are looking for male accomplice, said Viktor Panteleyev, head of the city police department that handles thefts of antiques.

Panteleyev said the missing books had not been found.

Also Wednesday, officials of the Gorky Library at St. Petersburg State University said another copy of Newton’s book had been stolen recently from their library. Panteleyev said he did not have information on that theft.

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