An unidentified American man has been charged with attempted theft of an item of cultural importance in Poland, after trying to steal a part of the train tracks at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, according to The Associated Press.
Polish officials said Sunday that the unidentified 37-year-old admitted to the attempted theft and has been released pending further action from police.
The crime carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, according to the AP.
A spokesperson for the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum told the news service that museum security alerted police after becoming aware of a man trying to remove a “metal element” from the tracks.
The incident comes just weeks after the Auschwitz Memorial Museum issued a notice asking visitors to stop taking photographs on the train tracks at the camp, where over 1 million people were killed during the Holocaust.
“When you come to [Auschwitz Museum] remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed,” the museum wrote. “Respect their memory.”
The “Arbeit Macht Frei”(“Work makes you free”) sign at the camp’s entrance was stolen in 2009. It was later found but replaced at the camp by a replica.