Crimes & Criminals

The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History

This is a microcosm of the danger facing American archives. Because almost nothing is catalogued at the item-level, most of the unique material housed in these most important of repositories is particularly vulnerable to theft. When someone like Breithaupt steals a book, even a very old book, there is a catalog record that tells us it is missing—and likely some kind of duplicate copy somewhere else in the world. But when he steals a letter from Flannery O’Connor to John Crowe Ransom—unless that letter has been photocopied by another person—it basically ceases to exist. Not only do we not have the information in it, but we don’t even know that we don’t have the information in it.

From The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History ‹ Literary Hub

Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story

The AP sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI last year seeking documents related to the 2014 sting. It also seeks to know how many times the FBI has used such a ruse since 2000. The FBI responded to the AP saying it could take two years or more to gather the information requested. Unsatisfied with the response, the Associated Press has taken the matter to court.

From Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story | Ars Technica

Rare Books Stolen by Suicide Librarian Returned to Sweden

Two 17th-century books stolen by an employee at the National Library of Sweden in the 1990s were returned today at a ceremony in Manhattan. Cornell University and a New York bookseller — neither of whom had knowledge of the thefts — handed the volumes over to the FBI after an investigation by the agency determined they were stolen.

Over 500 Stolen Books Worth 2.5 Million Euros Returned

At least 500 classical books, which were stolen from Italian libraries three years ago, were returned by German authorities on Friday. Polish Renaissance mathematician, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Italian physicist, Galileo Galilei, authored some of the books that are worth over 2.5 million euros.

The books were seized at an auction house in Munich, Germany.

Florida State University Gunman Shot Dead By Campus Police

Florida State University police shot and killed a gunman who had opened fire in the crowded university library around midnight. Three people were wounded.

Woman charged for torching books at Tacoma library

A Tacoma woman is in jail, accused of trying to set a library on fire. It happened on a busy Saturday at the Tacoma Main Library, forcing about 250 people to evacuate.

Library workers don't believe the motive was political. According to court documents, Sailly admitted she had an issue with a library worker earlier in the day and admitted to wanting to burn down the library.

Westerville Library Employee Accused of Stealing $20K

WESTERVILLE, Ohio - The deputy fiscal officer of the Westerville Public Library is being accused of embezzling funds.

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Ex-Iowa library director faces felony charges over $23,000 in improper payments

The former library director in Malvern, Iowa, has been charged with ongoing criminal conduct and theft following a state investigation that found nearly $33,000 of improper and unsupported payments.

The investigation involved claims submitted by former Library Director Stacey Buick. Both charges are felonies.


The report says original receipts indicate that instead of library supplies, software and other items, Buick bought such things as an iPod Touch and TracPhones. A window air-conditioner, coffee machine, space-saving cubes, Easter basket supplies and candy, hooded sweatshirt, graduation decorations, laundry detergent, stain remover, video games and soft drinks were other items flagged.

Full article:

Librarian breaking bad - High school librarian arrested for alleged meth lab in Ohio

A high school librarian in Ohio was making meth on the side, authorities said.
Nicole Gries' luck ran out on Friday the 13th when police received an anonymous tip that there might be a meth lab in her home on Foxford Court in Lakemore.

Read more:

Freeze! It's the Library Police

Observations from librarian/writer Roz Warren:

After 15 years of library work, this is what I’ve learned:

Most library patrons are decent, honest, honorable people who wouldn’t dream of stealing from us.

The scum who do want to steal from us will do so and can’t be stopped.

A while back, a woman applied for a library card at my library, received it, then checked out our entire astrology section and carried it off forever.

She ignored all of the polite overdue notices we emailed her. Then she ignored the many fretful mailings the library dunned her with.

Something else I’ve learned, working at the library? Dunning an unrepentant book thief is a complete waste of postage.

And, of course, she never darkened our doors again. Why would she? She had what she’d come in for.

Those astrology books were hers now.

She was an astrology buff, so maybe she was just doing what that day’s Horoscope had told her to do. “You‘re a Virgo and your moon is in Saturn? This is a good month to steal library books.”

My supervisor, who takes this kind of thing seriously, stewed about our astrology book thief for weeks. She longed to phone her up and say “Shame on you! Return our books this minute. Or else.”

But that goes against library policy, so her hands were tied.

Reprinted from Broad Street Review.


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