According to the Huffington Post, the rare manuscript, written on both sides of an A5 postcard, was stolen during a burglary that took place between April 13 and 24 in Kings Heath, a suburb of south Birmingham, England. The postcard was originally sold at a charity auction at Sotheby's in 2008 to benefit English PEN, an organization that supports writers’ freedoms, and Dyslexia Action. The manuscript sold for £25,000, or more than $32,000.
Rowling has put out a plea asking fans not to buy this stolen 800-word story, which reportedly takes place three years before Harry Potter is born. She tweeted, "PLEASE DON'T BUY THIS IF YOU'RE OFFERED IT." The all-caps message being a clear sign that she is very serious about getting this manuscript back to its rightful owner, who the BBC reported would like to be known only by his first name "Hira."
Hira told the BBC that the work was "priceless" and hopes he will get it back. "I don't think whoever took it or stole it or who might purchase it will really understand the benefits to people out there, what it can do," he said. "If I can get it back, I'm over the moon, because I'm only going to be doing good stuff with it. If it's destroyed, or if it's lost, it's a great loss."
The West Midlands Police, who are investigating the robbery, have also asked fans to help them in the case. "The only people who will buy this unique piece are true Harry Potter fans," the Investigating Officer PC Paul Jauncey said in a statement. "We are appealing to anyone who sees, or is offered this item for sale, to contact police."
The West Midlands Police have also shared a Crimestoppers hotline where people can anonymously share any information they have by calling 0800 555 111 and quoting the crime number 20BW/83503C/17.
According to Reuters, the rare Harry Potter story includes a teenage James Potter and Sirius Black, who begin the story being chased by the police and only manage to get away after using a bit of magic. The postcard ends with a message from Rowling: "From the prequel I am not working on — but that was fun!"