Jason Isaacs, who played racist dick Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, said that it was near-impossible to swipe any props from the films' sets—but that was just because Severus Snape had already helped himself to a few things.
"It was very difficult to steal things because Alan [Rickman], god love him, god rest his soul, he nicked all of the Gringotts coins on the very first day," he said. "[He] swiped in and out like a supermarket. I couldn't get away with it." Isaacs said that, after the late actor's charming-in-retrospect coin theft was discovered, on-set security got even tighter for the duration of filming.
If that's how the wizard-adjacent respond to theft, then it might be miserable at Warner Bros Studio in Hertfordshire, England for a while—and it's a 35-year-old Muggle's fault. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Adam Hill stole £36,935 ($48,388) worth of Harry Potter merchandise from the studio's stockroom. He took the items during one insanely… productive (???) three-month period between December 2017 and March 2018.
Hill reportedly took everything from wands and ties to badges and keychains, and sold them on his personal eBay account. At the time of his arrest, he had already made 1,040 Harry Potter-related sales, and cops found a dozen envelopes of Boy Wizard merch in his car, all ready to be mailed out.
"In a significant breach of trust, Adam Hill had the audacity to steal thousands of pounds of merchandise from Warner Bros in plain sight of his work colleagues; but they reported him after growing suspicious of the items constantly piling up under his desk," Jan Muller of the Crown Prosecution Service said.
"Subsequent scrutiny of Hill’s eBay and PayPal accounts revealed orders and payments received for goods which were found packaged up ready to send to buyers, giving him no option but to admit to his crimes.”
Yes, Hill was busted because he seems to have stored his stash of stolen goods under his desk. After noticing all the Potterphernalia that kept appearing and disappearing from his workspace, Hill's coworkers finally mentioned it to their bosses. (There's no denying that dude was bold: He even started using the postage meter at his office to stamp the envelopes filled with the stuff he'd stolen from the stockroom.)
When the Hertfordshire police searched Hill's home, they found more Harry Potter wands and shit, along with a stack of packaging materials. He pleaded guilty to theft by employee in November and last week, the St. Albans Crown Court sentenced him to 4 months in prison suspended for 18 months and 250 hours unpaid work.
Hill and Alan Rickman aren't the only ones who can't keep their hands off Harry Potter stuff. In May 2017, burglars broke into a home in Birmingham, England, and stole an ultra-rare handwritten Harry Potter prequel that JK Rowling had donated to charity auction almost a decade earlier. The 800-word story involved Harry Potter's father, James, and Sirius Black using their broomsticks to escape from a pair of Muggle cops. It had sold for £25,000 ($32,753) at auction, and was described as "extremely valuable" by the West Midlands Police.
The postcard-sized prequel does not seem to have ever been recovered. If only the thief had left it under his desk at work.