An Italian tourist who stole a remnant of barbed wire from Auschwitz could face three years in prison for the crime.
Bertoldo Lori, 40, was stopped along with his wife at the Krakow airport, after the wire showed up on a security scan.
“In his luggage we found approximately 40 centimeters of rusted barbed wire wrapped in clothing,” said border control spokesperson Captain Katarzyna Walczak.
“He admitted that the wire had come from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, and that he had taken it to keep as a souvenir. But he insisted he had found it lying on the ground, rather than taken it from a fence.”
The couple was allowed to continue onto Rome following questioning, though Poland is still considering whether or not it will press charges.
Theft of “souvenirs” from Nazi camps is nothing new. The infamous Arbeit Macht Frei sign was even stolen in 2009, though it was later recovered.
“Every item within the camp, whether it be a nut, screw, bolt or piece of wire is of cultural value and is part of the story here,” said Bartosz Bartyzel, a spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.