A Swiss bird enthusiast admitted in court on Tuesday that he pilfered natural history museums in Europe to complete his collection of more than 10,500 feathers.
The 45-year old construction engineer stole 458 feathers and wings, creating damages of nearly 6.1 million dollars, according to the indictment for the trial in Basel.
The man told the court that he wanted to own one feather from every kind of bird of prey in the world.
He gained access to various museum collections in Switzerland, Germany and Austria by presenting himself as an ornithologist who was working on a scientific paper.
He was able to pluck specimens for several years until a museum in Berlin noticed the thefts in 2012.
The main suspect sold some of his loot to another feather collector, who was also on trial in Basel for receiving stolen goods. (dpa/NAN)