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US tourist stops thief trying to steal Magna Carta in Britain

LONDON – An American tourist from Louisiana thanked a hammer assistant who failed to try to steal Magna Carta in…

LONDON – An American tourist from Louisiana thanked a hammer assistant who failed to try to steal Magna Carta in Salisbury Cathedral and held him on the ground until help could arrive.

Matt Delcambre, of Little Iberia, Louisiana, told The Sun newspaper in an interview published Saturday that he and his wife Alexis were sightseeing in the southwest of the city when a man tried to crush the glass enclosing the precious manuscript after a the fire alarm was abandoned in the chapel of the building. Among the confusion Delcambre seized the suspect as he fled.

“I had to stop him”, cited the 56’s by The Sun.

Delcambre, head of the Center for Business & Information Technologies at the University of Louisiana, in Lafayette, said he held him on the ground until security could come about.

“At home he had been tied up on the ground,” his wife Alexis The Sun said.

The document was protected by two layers of thick glass, and the thief gave up and tried to fly.

The Wiltshire police said on Saturday that a 45-year-old man was released on the bail until 20 November as officers continued his investigation.

The Magna Carta Salisbury Cathedral is one of four existing examples of the 1215 Charter, which laid down the principle that the king is subject to the law. It is considered as a basis for English law and civil liberties and influenced the creation of the United States Constitution.

The document, Latin for the Great Charter, was short-lived. Despotic King John, who encountered unjust barons and joined a list of fundamental rights, almost returned to his word and asked the pope to suspend it and conceal England for civil war. It was re-issued after the king’s death.

Yet, its significance can not be underestimated, as it has inspired everyone from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela.

“I could not let him get away with that” Delcambre said. “Magna Carta is one of the most important documents in the world.”

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