Rare manuscript about Rome's Orsini family stolen from exhibit in California

Authorities are investigating the theft of a rare 18th century manuscript about Rome's politically powerful Orsini family from an exhibit case at a University of California, Los Angeles library.

The 208-page volume of documents was on public view in the special collections area of the Charles E. Young Research Library when it was taken sometime between Feb. 9 and Feb. 12, campus police said.

The manuscript had not been appraised, but some experts said it could be worth about $7,500 (EUR5,677), the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

It was part of a large collection UCLA acquired in 1964 and includes text and illustrations from 1715 to 1736 about the Orsini palace in Rome. The documents were on display in connection with an international scholarly conference on the Orsini family, an wealthy clan that produced popes and political leaders.

Dawn Setzer, director of communications for the UCLA Library, said the theft was the first in about a decade from the special collections. She said the library has always tried to balance security against making its collections accessible.

"The thought that someone would take something is surprising and disappointing," she said, reports AP.

Detectives were pursuing leads but had no suspects, said UCLA police spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein.

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