Four Arrested in Possible 'Potter' Plot

05/08/2003 at 11:20 AM EDT

Four arrests have been made in the case of the allegedly stolen "Harry Potter" books, reports Reuters.

Earlier this week, British police began their investigation into how copies of the upcoming -- and highly secret -- "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" found their way to an abandoned field near the British publishing plant where the fifth installment of J.K. Rowling's phenomenally best-selling novels are being printed.

In a statement Thursday, police said two 16-year-old boys and two men aged 18 and 44 were being held after raids in Suffolk, eastern England, late Wednesday.

Those apprehended are due to be questioned on suspicion of theft and trying to obtain property by deception, police added.

"The Order of the Phoenix" is not due to hit stores until June 21, though advance copies could fetch a pretty penny, as children -- and not a few adults -- are salivating at the mere thought of catching up on the latest adventures of the boy wizard.

The first four "Potter" books have to date sold nearly 200 million copies in 55 languages and 200 countries.

After being found in the field by an unidentified 40-year-old father of two, the valuable books were turned over to the British tabloid the Sun, which reportedly returned them to Bloomsbury (Rowling's British publisher) without even peeking to see what Harry is up to.

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