An American visitor to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp attempted to steal a metal part of the historic rail tracks where prisoners were unloaded, officials said Sunday.
The 37-year-old man has been charged with attempted theft of an item of cultural importance, according to Malgorzata Jurecka, a police spokeswoman in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim, which was under German occupation during World War II.
The crime can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.
Jurecka said the man admitted his guilt but has been released as he awaits further steps.
Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum, said the memorial museum's security team became aware that the man was trying to remove the metal element on the historic rail tracks and then alerted police.