Romania: Thieves 'strip $4m steam loco of value'

A World War II-era steam engine - worth an estimated $4m (£2.6m) and designated a Romanian national monument - has apparently been stripped to a skeleton and left on a siding.

Built in 1944, the German locomotive was one of several captured by Soviet troops during the war and was reportedly given to communist Romania as a "present" in 1950, before ending up abandoned in a rail depot. It survived the years and was declared part of Romania's National Cultural Patrimony by a 2000 law but the authorities then appear to have lost track of it, according to the Adevarul newspaper website.

Thieves are being blamed for it turning up miles from its original location, rusting and stripped to a "skeleton". The Bucharest-based daily quotes culture ministry official Viorel Blanaru as describing the engine as a "masterpiece of engineering" of its period and probably worth about $4m on the black market in its original state. But he told the site it could now only be admired as a "monument to scrap".

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