Copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, to be published on June 21, were found earlier this week dumped in a field in Suffolk, England. Now four have been arrested:
- Police said in a statement that two 16-year-old boys and two men aged 18 and 44 were held in raids in Suffolk, eastern England late on Wednesday.
They were due to question the four, all from Suffolk, on suspicion of theft and trying to obtain property by deception.
Two copies of the fifth installment of the boy wizard’s adventures were handed to the Sun newspaper earlier this week.
The paper said they had been found in a field next to a printworks which is churning out hundreds of thousands of copies of the book. [Reuters]
The thieves were doubtless thwarted by magic.
More from E! online:
- An investigation was launched Tuesday by the police and the book’s publisher after a Suffolk man found the copies in a field near Printer Clays Ltd.–the plant where hundreds of thousands of copies of the book are being pumped out daily–and handed them over to the local newspaper. At the time, foul play was suspected, and Bloomsbury Publishing officials were hoping to conjure up a quick solution to the mystery.
“The matter is currently under investigation, with the suspicion that theft is involved,” the publisher and J.K. Rowling’s agent said in a joint statement Monday.
For now, details remain cloaked in intrigue–Bloomsbury and the printer have declined to comment on specifics. But a universal sigh of relief is likely being heard in the U.K., considering the potential damage early copies of the book could do to sales if it leaked out to, say, the Internet.
Already, the book’s distributors are concerned. Tessa Vanderkop, publicity manager for Raincoast, the book’s Canadian publisher, told the Toronto Star that she fears the theft might encourage other to seek out the printing facility in hopes of scoring early copies. “It’s unfortunate in a project this big, especially when there is so much secrecy around it, that it just increases the desire on the part of people to be able to get at that kind of property,” she said.