Crimes & Criminals

Map Thief or Good Guy?

From the Chicago Tribune; E. Forbes Smiley says he didn't do it.

Suspected of stealing from Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Smiley denies that he did anything wrong, although he was found standing suspiciously over an Xacto knife blade. The missing maps had of course been cut out of books with a blade.

It was later determined that Smiley had also visited the Boston Public Library and Chicago's Newberry Library, where maps were also mysteriously missing.

Library Thieves Busted At DC Area Used Bookstores

It only follows that in our current economy, when you can sell the shoes off your own mothers feet, that some people would stoop to borrowing library books and then proceed to sell them to the highest bidders.

Crystina J. Stephens 20, and her boyfriend, Larry L. Miler Jr., 23, decided to do just that, stealing 483 books from Prince Georges County (MD) Public Libraries, and selling them to local bookstores. Story from the Washington Post .

Their m.o. was to obtain multiple library cards under different names. A very clever police detective caught them in the act after notifying several used bookstores to be on the lookout for the book-toting pair.

White supremacist faces charges

Michael points us to An Article In The Chicago Tribune. A Berwyn man who is trying to organize a rally for white supremacists in a local park has been charged with destroying Holocaust-related videotapes in the Riverside Public Library, authorities said Wednesday.
In a lengthy statement to police, the man, who is unemployed and has longtime ties to hate groups, wrote that he pulled the videotape out of all five cassettes and left them on the floor for librarians to find because he believes the films are full of lies, Weitzel said.

Wolfson Archivist-Librarian Charged With Grand Theft

Anonymous Patron writes "A Miami TV Station reports that the Wolfson Archivist-Librarian has been charged with grand theft, using fraudulent checks and official misconduct."

Plot thickens in Australian vanishing books mystery

Anonymous Patron writes "A drunk man smashed the window of Melbourne's oldest antiquarian book stores and allegedly made off with two dozen of English literature's finest.
But There's More. He went through a window, and proceeded to splatter blood throughout the store after cutting himself on the window - smashed a glass cabinet at the back of the store before gathering the books into a cardboard box and fleeing. He has told police he does not remember what happened to the books.Sheilah McGrath-Campbell, a worker at the High Street store, had this to say:

"He obviously had no taste in books, though, because while they are beautiful books he took, and we're heart-broken they're gone, it's almost like that's all he saw because he passed another cabinet to get to this one at the back of the store."

Also spirited away was a copy of The Book of Fate and Fortune, An Encyclopedia of the Occult Sciences. But most valuable of all is a $3200 first edition of A Collection of Ancient Poems, Songs and Ballads of legendary English outlaw Robin Hood."

Vulnerability of Paris Library Gains Attention in France

Anonymous Patron writes "The New York Times has more on all those missing books at the National Library in France. Even so, Le Figaro asserted that the report provides a disturbing portrait of the difficulties of protecting as many as 35 million books, documents, manuscripts, maps and photographs.

"To turn the library into a locked safe would be easy, but it is not our vocation," the newspaper quoted Agnès Saal, the library's director-general, as saying. "Unlike museums, our documents are there to be consulted.""

Grand Theft from the French National Library

Speaking of theft, here's news from Paris of a theft on a very grand scale, where the curator of the French National Library (Michel Garel, an internationally known expert on Hebrew texts) is accused of stealing over 30,000 books, many rare and irreplaceable.

So chaotic are the library's cataloguing and security systems it is impossible to know when books were stolen. Some may have been "lost" in an institution that houses 35 million objects. But a year-long investigation by the president of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) found the library had been systematically pillaged over many years.

More coverage from the AP.

Update: 06/28 17:04 EST by B:The accused, Michel Garel, claims it's not his fault in this UPI story.

Probation for Ex-Library Director Duke

Further to our story last month on Irma H. Duke, former director and 30-year veteran of the Phenix City-Russell County Library (GA), a judge has ruled that Ms. Duke will not receive jail time for her crime but must repay the money she took and serve probation.

Duke was fired last summer after an investigation disclosed that she took advantage of a process in which she was issued pre-signed blank checks to pay library employees.

Within the three-year period covered by the investigation, Duke routinely wrote herself two paychecks when she was due only one and misused $70,000 of library funds. Story from the Ledger-Enquirer.

Librarian Dips into PTA Cookie Jar, Hand Slapped

MANSFIELD, LA - Former Stanley High School librarian Deborah Wilkinson must serve two years of probation for stealing money from the Parent Teacher Association and the school system.

DeSoto Parish District Court Judge Robert Burgess also ordered Wilkinson to repay eight-thousand-729 dollars to the P-T-A and 532 dollars to the DeSoto School Board. Story from Lousiana TV Station KATC.

Missing stuff - the power of spooky headlines

Cortez writes "Folks in Portland are missing some library items - 18,786 to be exact - yes, that sounds bad but how big is their total collection? I have trouble finding a pair of socks.
Here's The Story
All 17 branches will now store the most easily taken items — DVDs and CDs — behind the checkout counter. At the three largest branches, systems already in place meant to deter thieves have been disabled by library personnel — after repeated malfunction.
Ginny Cooper, the former library director, said she unplugged the magnetic security gates six years ago and stopped hiding magnetic sensors in most of the library's collection because there were so many false alarms."


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