Thieves have stolen a rare Harry Potter prequel written on a postcard by J.K. Rowling, West Midlands police announced on Friday.
The prequel to the Harry Potter series of books and films was handwritten on a piece of A5 card by the author and sold at auction for £25,000 to raise money for charity.
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The handwritten postcard by @jk_rowling was purchased to raise money for charity. #Harrypotter fans if you have any info please call 101 ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ijBtgrxHIL
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) May 12, 2017
J.K. Rowling is appealing to fans for help.
PLEASE DON’T BUY THIS IF YOU’RE OFFERED IT. Originally auctioned for @englishpen, the owner supported writers’ freedoms by bidding for it. https://t.co/ljEQyyj9yY
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 12, 2017
The burglars also stole some jewelry from a house in Kings Heath, Birmingham, between April 13 and 24.
Daily Mail reports:
The owner of the prequel, who does not wish to be identified, thanked JK Rowling and the police for raising awareness about the theft.
The document’s owner said: ‘I was in Bangkok and I got an email from my sister to give her a call urgently.
‘She said “Your home has been broken into and your safes are gone” – then I knew my sentimental items had gone out the door.
‘It (the prequel) was something I have been responsible for for nine years – it’s a bit of a shock and it took a little while for it to settle in.’
West Midlands Police have issued a plea for information in the hope that ‘the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world.’
Investigating officer Police Constable Paul Jauncey said: ‘The only people who will buy this unique piece are true Harry Potter fans.
‘We are appealing to anyone who sees, or is offered this item for sale, to contact police.’
Responding to news of the theft, JK Rowling retweeted a message issued by West Midlands Police appealing for information and featuring a picture of the short story.
The writer said: ‘PLEASE DON’T BUY THIS IF YOU’RE OFFERED IT. Originally auctioned for @englishpen, the owner supported writers’ freedoms by bidding for it.’
The prequel was among several works donated by authors, including Sebastian Faulks and Doris Lessing, to an auction held in 2008 to raise funds for English PEN, which promotes understanding through literature, and Dyslexia Action.
Set three years before Harry Potter’s birth, the prequel features the schoolboy wizard’s father, James Potter, and godfather, Sirius Black, when they were teenagers.
They are confronted by two ‘muggle’ policemen after a high-speed motorbike chase but manage to escape on broomsticks.
As the policemen attempt to arrest them for speeding and riding without helmets, three men on broomsticks fly down the alley towards them.
James and Sirius use their wands to lift the police car up to form a barrier, and the broomstick riders crash into it. Sirius and James then leave the frightened policemen in the alley.
From Rowling’s explicit cautionary words, it seems that readers’ curiosity about what Sirius and James were about to do and who their opponents were is doomed to remain unanswered.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the postcard, or who has information about the break-in, is urged to contact West Midlands Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF RARE HARRY POTTER PREQUEL
The speeding motorcycle took the sharp corner so fast in the darkness that both policemen in the pursuing car shouted ‘Whoa!’
Sergeant Fisher slammed his large foot on the brake, thinking that the boy who was riding pillion was sure to be flung under his wheels. However, the motorbike made the turn without unseating either of its riders, and with a wink of its red tail light, vanished up the narrow side street.
‘We’ve got em now!’ cried PC Anderson excitedly. ‘That’s a dead end!’
Leaning hard on the steering wheel and crashing his gears, Fisher scraped half the paint off the flank of the car as he forced it up the alleyway in pursuit.
There in the headlights sat their quarry, stationary at last after a quarter of an hour’s chase. The two riders were trapped between a towering brick wall and the police car, which was now crawling towards them like some growling, luminous-eyed predator.
There was so little space between the car doors and the walls of the alley that Fisher and Anderson had difficulty extricating themselves from the vehicle. It injured their dignity to have to inch, crab-like, towards the miscreants. Fisher dragged his generous belly along the wall, tearing buttons off his shirt as he went, and finally snapping off his wing mirror with his backside.
‘Get off the bike!’ he bellowed at the smirking youths, who sat basking in the flashing blue light as though enjoying it.
They did as they were told. Finally pulling free from the broken wing mirror, Fisher glared at them. They seemed to be in their late teens. The one who had been driving had long black hair; his insolent good looks reminded Fisher unpleasantly of his daughter’s guitar-playing, layabout boyfriend. The second boy also had black hair, though his was short and stuck up in all directions; he wore glasses and a broad grin. Both were dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with a large golden bird; the emblem no doubt of some deafening, tuneless rock band.
‘No helmets!’ Fisher yelled, pointing from one uncovered head to the other. ‘Exceeding the speed limit by–by a considerable amount!’
(In fact, the speed registered had been greater than Fisher was prepared to accept that any motorcycle could travel.) ‘Failing to stop for the police!’
‘We’d have loved to stop for a chat,’ said the boy in glasses, ‘only we were trying–‘
‘Don’t get smart–you two are in a heap of trouble!’ snarled Anderson. ‘Names!’
‘Names?’ repeated the long-haired driver, ‘Er–well, let’s see. There’s Wilberforce… Bathsheba… Elvendork…’
‘And what’s nice about that one is, you can use it for a boy or a girl,’ said the boy in glasses.
‘Oh, our names, did you mean?’ asked the first, as Anderson sputtered with rage. ‘You should’ve said! This here’s James Potter, and I’m Sirius Black.’
‘Things’ll be seriously black for you in a minute, you cheeky little–‘
But neither James nor Sirius was paying attention. They were suddenly as alert as gundogs, staring past Fisher and Anderson, over the roof of the police car, at the dark mouth of the alley. Then, with identical, fluid movements, they reached into their back pockets.
For the space of a heartbeat both policemen imagined guns gleaming at them, but a second later they saw that the motorcyclists had drawn nothing more than–
‘Drumsticks?’ jeered Anderson.’Right pair of jokers, aren’t you? Right, we’re arresting you on a charge of–‘
But Anderson never got to name the charge. James and Sirius had shouted something incomprehensible, and the beams from the headlights had moved.
The policemen wheeled around, then staggered backwards. Three men were flying–actually flying–up the alley on broomsticks–and at the same moment, the police car was rearing up on its back wheels.
Fisher’s knees bucked; he sat down hard. Anderson tripped over Fisher’s legs and fell on top of him, as flump–bang–crunch–they heard the men on brooms slam into the upended car and fall, apparently insensible, to the ground, while broken bits of broomstick clattered down around them.
The motorbike had roared into life again. His mouth hanging open, Fisher mustered the strength to look back at the two teenagers.
‘Thanks very much!’ called Sirius over the throb of the engine. ‘We owe you one.’
‘Yeah, nice meeting you!’ said James. ‘And don’t forget: Elvendork! It’s unisex!’
There was an earthshaking crash, and Fisher and Anderson threw their arms around each other in fright; their car had just fallen back to the ground. Now it was the motorcycle’s turn to rear. Before the policemen’s disbelieving eyes, it took off into the air. James and Sirius zoomed away into the night sky, their tail light twinkling behind them like a vanishing ruby.
From the prequel I am not working on–but that was fun!
-JK Rowling 2008, as published on HarryPotter.Wiki.Com
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