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Poland: Mastermind of Auschwitz Theft Lives Abroad


A Polish prosecutor says a suspect outside Poland is the mastermind behind the theft of the Nazi sign ripped from the gates of the World War II Auschwitz death camp.

Artur Wrona told reporters Tuesday that the suspect neither lives in Poland nor holds Polish citizenship. The prosecutor spoke in Warsaw, two days after the sign was recovered and five suspects were arrested.

Wrona refused to confirm or deny Polish media reports that someone in Sweden is under suspicion.

Police have contacted Interpol and its European Union equivalent following Friday's theft.

Police recovered the sign - a curving piece of open ironwork five meters long - cut into three pieces. It reads in German, "Arbeit macht frei" - meaning "work will set you free." Well over one million people, most of them Jews, died at Auschwitz.

Police say the five suspects in custody range in age from 20 to 39 and have criminal records. Charged with theft and damage, they face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.