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Suspected Book Thief Arraigned On New Counts

By Courtney A. Coursey

Jose Torres-Carbonnel, previously charged with stealing approximately $750,000 worth of rare books and book plates from the Harvard University Library, was arraigned yesterday at the Middlesex County Courthouse on 15 additional counts.

Torres was arraigned on five counts of larceny over $250, five counts of receiving stolen property over $250, and five counts of destroying library materials.

These most recent charges concern the alleged theft of approximately 330 plates and prints valued at about $250,000, said Detective Sgt. Richard Mederos of the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).

"The additional indictments are the result of the continuing investigation of the case," Mederos said.

Torres was indicted in January by a grand jury on 16 charges of theft and malicious destruction of property.

On February 18, a Middlesex County district judge ordered Torres to be held on $5,000 bail for his alleged theft of $750,000 worth of rare books from Harvard libraries.

Torres allegedly stole items from the Loeb Library of the Graduate School of Design, Widener Library and the Fine Arts Library, Mederos told The Crimson in January.

These most recent charges against Torres are "a result of bank records that were subpoenaed through a grand-jury process," Mederos said.

Records of Torres' personal bank account contained information about checks received by Torres for payments for prints he had sold, according to Mederos.

The information that lead Mederos to the additional items was obtained during the execution of the initial search warrant last June, he said.

The HUPD search of Torres' apartment resulted in the discovery of $500,000 in books, plates and prints.

Information indicating that about 200 additional items had been shipped to Granada was found during the search.

With the aid of INTERPOL, an international policing system, the shipment was confiscated by police in Granada.

"Additional information may come to light in time that could lead us to other items," Mederos said. "At this point what he has been charged with is all that we have been able to recover so far."

Mederos said that for the last four or five months he has been "going back and forth with the individuals who possess the stolen items."

Although some of those individuals are from the local area, at least one is from California, according to Mederos.

"There were negotiations and things that had to be worked out to gather the return of Harvard property," he said.

Torres' bail was increased from $5,000 to $10,000 at yesterday's arraignment, according to an employee of the Middlesex County Clerk's Office of Criminal Business, who did not give her name.

Torres originally became implicated in the library thefts when Andras J. Riedlmayer, bibliographer in Islamic art and architecture in the Fine Arts Library, contacted a book dealer in Granada, Spain.

Riedlmayer was interested in purchasing items from the dealer to replace those stolen from Harvard's collection.

The book dealer's catalogue contained two particularly rare volumes which seemed identical to those stolen from Harvard's libraries.

The dealer had already sold one of the books by the time Riedlmayer contacted him, but he confirmed that the other book contained the Harvard stamp.

Riedlmayer then called HUPD. Mederos said he contacted the Granada book dealer, who said that the dealer bought the stolen volumes from a self-described "private collector" in Cambridge by the name of Jose Torres-Carbonnel, according to the March/April issue of Harvard Magazine.

Most of the books allegedly stolen by Torres focused on Islamic and Middle Eastern architecture.

Torres allegedly cut pages out of some of the books, several of which were one-of-a-kind, before selling them to art-and-antique dealers in Granada.

Torres was arrested on June 25 after authorities learned that he was planning to flee the country, The Crimson reported in February.

After his arrest, Torres admitted to stealing the 41 items that he had listed for sale in a catalogue.

Torres was married to a Harvard graduate student who filed for divorce in June, a month after Torres was apprehended, according to the Harvard Magazine article.

Torres' next court appearance will be his May 21 pre-trial conference

Riedlmayer was interested in purchasing items from the dealer to replace those stolen from Harvard's collection.

The book dealer's catalogue contained two particularly rare volumes which seemed identical to those stolen from Harvard's libraries.

The dealer had already sold one of the books by the time Riedlmayer contacted him, but he confirmed that the other book contained the Harvard stamp.

Riedlmayer then called HUPD. Mederos said he contacted the Granada book dealer, who said that the dealer bought the stolen volumes from a self-described "private collector" in Cambridge by the name of Jose Torres-Carbonnel, according to the March/April issue of Harvard Magazine.

Most of the books allegedly stolen by Torres focused on Islamic and Middle Eastern architecture.

Torres allegedly cut pages out of some of the books, several of which were one-of-a-kind, before selling them to art-and-antique dealers in Granada.

Torres was arrested on June 25 after authorities learned that he was planning to flee the country, The Crimson reported in February.

After his arrest, Torres admitted to stealing the 41 items that he had listed for sale in a catalogue.

Torres was married to a Harvard graduate student who filed for divorce in June, a month after Torres was apprehended, according to the Harvard Magazine article.

Torres' next court appearance will be his May 21 pre-trial conference

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