US man jailed for stealing pages from rare books in British libraries

A wealthy US businessman with a passion for books about the Middle East was sentenced to two years in jail Friday for stealing pages from rare texts at two of Britain's most venerable libraries. Farhad Hakimzadeh sneaked a scalpel into the London's British Library to surgically removed leaves from books, according to library staff. He used the pilfered pages to replace lower-quality parts of his own copies of the works. Judge Peter Ader at London's Wood Green Crown Court said Hakimzadeh, the Harvard-educated director of an Iranian cultural organization and a published author, must have known the damage he was causing. Hakimzadeh targeted books at the British Library and Oxford's Bodleian Library that dealt with Europe's interaction with the Middle East. Investigators tracing his activities found damage to some 150 books dating as far back as the 16th century. A map alone taken from one of the books was worth US$44,000.