Suicide book thief stole from Uppsala

The 48 year old man who blew himself up in an apparent suicide attempt two weeks ago stole at least thirteen rare books from Uppsala University's Carolina Rediviva library - adding to those he pilfered from Stockholm's Royal Library.

Police said that a total of 25 books have been found, but that the Uppsala books were not found in the ruins of the man’s central Stockholm apartment.

According to Tuesday’s Svenska Dagbladet, the total value of the books is still unclear. But the head librarian at Carolina Rediviva, Ulf Göranson, told the paper that at least one of the books was worth over 100,000 crowns.

“The works are from the 16th and 17th centuries,” he said. “They include a medical history work but also fictional pieces which have now been recovered.”

Dagens Nyheter reported that the 48 year old spent some time working at Carolina Rediviva and “as a known person in the library world he could have moved relatively freely between many libraries”.

Although the stolen books were not the library’s most valuable, they were “attractive on the international market” and were being kept in closed storage at the time of the thefts.

Ulf Göranson told SvD that he wasn’t sure if other books had been taken from Carolina Rediviva – which has over 5 million books in its collection – and that the library was now beginning a comprehensive inventory.

“In some cases we can say that [the books] have been missing for up to ten years,” he said. “Other books haven’t been requested and so nobody noticed they were missing.”

The security routines at the library have now been tightened up.

The 48 year old died when his apartment, on Stockholm’s Surbrunnsgatan, exploded on December 8th. After the apartment was made safe, police began investigating the possible causes, which included a bomb and an accidental gas explosion.

But late last week investigators concluded that the blast was a violent suicide.

“The technicians found a cut on a tube from the gas pipe,” said Kjell Lindgren, spokesman for Stockholm police, to TT.

“Because of that, so much gas had come out that there was a critical concentration where, for example, a fridge or a light could ignite it and create an explosion.”

The man had been in police custody as part of their investigation into the book thefts, and he had already admitted to having stolen a number of them. He was released on December 3rd and police believe that his death five days later was suicide.

“Nobody other than the 48 year old has caused the cut and let the gas stream out,” said Lindgren. “It is a tragedy. The man’s intention was to kill himself.”

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, TT