Italian police on Thursday arrested the director and the curator of the oldest library in Naples for stealing hundreds of books and manuscripts from their own collection.
"The Girolamini Library has been the victim of a criminal plot," said Naples public prosecutor Giovanni Mellilo.
The library's director, Massimo Marino De Caro, and its curator, Sandro Marsano, have been stealing books from the collection "over a long period of time", Mellilo said.
Four others accused of involvement in the theft, three Argentinians and a Ukrainian, were also arrested.
The public library, founded in the 16th century, has lost 257 titles from its collection of musical scores and books covering the 16th-19th centuries.
The investigation was launched after library employees reported the director to the Carabinieri, Italy's paramilitary police, and gave them a security camera tape of the director leaving the building with works belonging to the library.
"Now we need to monitor what's happening in other high-culture institutions," said a lawmaker from the center-left Democratic Party, Luisa Bossa.
She said other historic sites in Naples as well as the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum are "adrift".
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