Crimes & Criminals

Retired UT County library worker accused of stealing 40K

Retired S.L. County library worker accused of stealing $40,000
The Salt Lake County auditor has called for a criminal investigation into a retired library accountant accused of skimming $40,000 from a government account over seven years.

Although the accountant returned much of that money before he was caught, the auditor says an estimated $10,000 remains unaccounted for.

Suspect Nabbed in Portsmouth VA Library Arson

Authorities have a suspect in custody in connection with the Christmas Day arson at the Portsmouth VA Public Library as reported by Hampton Roads.

Brannon Godfrey, a deputy city manager, said in an e-mail to city officials Friday that the man was in police custody on an unrelated case and confessed to setting the fire. The Fire Department identified him as Tyrone Donte Taylor of Portsmouth. He was being held in the Portsmouth jail without bond.

The fire was set about 6 p.m. in the book drop at the rear of the building and damaged the area near the book drop. But soot and ash spread through the building, and the library will be closed for at least 90 days for cleanup and repairs.

Inmate Sentenced for Kidnapping Prison Librarian

A few days ago, we ran a story on how important the work of a prison librarian can be. Unfortunately, there's also a down-side to being a prison librarian:

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — A 36-year-old Maine prison inmate is going to serve 40 additional years for kidnapping and assaulting a prison librarian and another inmate.

A judge told Michael Chasse Tuesday his actions were "unspeakably cruel" when he stabbed the librarian and the other inmate while he held them hostage for about seven hours on June 30, 2008 at the Maine State Prison in Warren. The hostages were not seriously hurt.

Chasse was convicted in August. Chasse was originally in prison for breaking into the home of the brother of former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen. Chasse argued he should be sentenced to about 15 years.

The Bangor Daily News says Chasse's latest sentence will not begin until his current sentence has been completed. His release is scheduled for 2070.

Forgery, Theft in the Heartland

GARRISON, Iowa — The former library director for Garrison has been accused of stealing city funds reports the Chicago Tribune.

The Gazette, of Cedar Rapids, says 41-year-old Mary Sheeley, of rural Garrison, is charged with forgery and theft. She was arrested Monday and was released pending a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday.

Authorities say Sheeley forged the city clerk's signature on 36 checks between August and December.

Benton County Sheriff Randy Forsyth says the checks totaled nearly $4,100.

LGBT Books Vandalized With Urine in Harvard Library

The Harvard Crimson reports on a possible hate crime at Lamont Library.

The library staff members found an empty bottle next to the vandalized books that may have contained the urine, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard. The staff initially responded to the incident as a health hazard, quickly removing the bottle and relocating the damaged books to the Collections Conservation Lab on Level D of Widener Library.

Brainard said that the library staff assessed the value of the vandalized books before reporting the incident, accounting for the space of two weeks between the incident and the  report to HUPD. The books—which Brainard estimated to be worth a few thousand dollars—will be discarded due to the severity of the damage.

Details on the Harvard U. Police Blotter.

Buyer Beware, Stolen LDS Books May Have Led to Bookseller's Murder

Tragic story out of Salt Lake City. Police are investigating the fatal stabbing of bookseller Sherry Black who was killed in the shop she ran with her husband, B&W Billiards and Books, 3466 S. 700 East.

"She was physically beaten and stabbed more than once," Keller said. "Her wounds did cause a considerable amount of blood loss at the crime scene."

The Deseret News has learned about a transaction in which Black purchased rare, stolen LDS books from a Juggalo gang member with a history of making threats. The incident occurred in February of 2009.

Lorin Nielsen, 20, was arrested and charged with stealing books from the Bluffdale home of his father, who is a polygamous church president. Nielsen pleaded guilty in April 2009 to theft, a third-degree felony, and theft by deception, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

In March 2009, Nielsen's father told detectives he had noticed some rare LDS books missing from his home library, according to police reports. He reviewed security camera footage and saw his son removing the books on Feb. 20, when he had been at the home for a funeral. The home also functions as a church meeting place.

When the father showed the video to his son, Nielsen admitted taking the books and said he sold them at Black's B&W Billiards and Books store, police reports state.

Getting Over the Horror of the Crossbow Slaying

Following up on our earlier story about the crossbow murder at Toronto's Main Street Branch Library, library staff and patrons are spending the weekend in counselling and the library remains closed.

Toronto Star reports: It was the busiest time of day on the busiest day of the week — as toddlers learned new words, students surfed the web, librarians checked-out books — when a crossbow fired a bolt through Si Cheng’s back.

The 52-year-old died, right there, the Main St. public library on Thursday, just after 4 p.m. His 24-year-old son, Zhou Fang is charged with pulling the trigger.

“This is a very unusual incident,” said Anne Marie Aikins, communications manager for Toronto Public Library. “So we’re trying to make sure anyone affected by it gets their needs met.”

Several after-school programs were underway when Cheng was murdered, including Ready for Reading — a program for kids 5 and under. Teenagers were arriving post class. Librarians were switching shifts.

“It was a bustling place at the time,” said Aikins.

In their panic, many people left knapsacks and books behind. Many are still logged into computers. And the library has a record of members signed up for the several programs going on at the time. -- Read More

Crossbow Killing InToronto Library

From the Toronto Sun: The city’s first ever crossbow killing is an alleged case of patricide. The 52-year-old man who was shot in the back in a crowded library Thursday is the alleged killer’s father, Toronto Police confirmed Friday.

Si Cheng, also known as William, was inside a public library on Main St., just south of Gerrard St. E., when he was hit in the back by a bolt from a crossbow shortly after 4 p.m., police said.

It’s alleged that Zhou Fang, 24, also known as Peter, fired the fatal shot as women and children in the library watched in horror. Police have not said anything about what may have motivated the city’s 59th murder of the year.

However there is a history of violence involving the accused killer’s estranged mother and father. And at least one source, who knew the couple when they were still living together as a family in 2006 on Mintwood Dr. near Steeles Ave. E. and Leslie in 2006, said “Nora” Cheng Mei Fang “lived in fear” of her former spouse.

“I don’t know what the relationship was like between the father and son, but I know she was terrified of her ex-husband,” said the source, who asked not to be named. The mother and son have been living in Ottawa. The father remained in the family home until recently, even though it was owned by his ex-wife. The North York house was sold for $443,000 in mid-November, according to court records.

The closing date was Dec. 1, the day before the killing.

A Critical But Sad Job for a Librarian, Counting the Dead in México Drug War

The drug war in México and the resulting violence in Juárez are among the top international stories of the last two years. But the crisis moves in and out of the headlines, so you have to make a commitment to follow it. Or you can sign up for the Frontera List, which several times a day blasts e-mails containing news articles, links and commentary to its 600 subscribers. Story from El Paso Inc.

It also reminds the reader, day after day, of the mounting body count in México. Molly Molloy, the New Mexico State librarian who manages the Frontera list, says it’s important to keep accurate numbers.

“It is all we can do for so many people who have died so violently, and with no attention paid to why they are being killed,” Molloy says.
It’s not unusual to see the death count rounded down by at least 200 or sometimes 500, she says. “Even though the total for this year in Juárez has passed 2,800, many reports will say ‘more than 2,500’ or something like that.”

Here's a video piece from Grit TV on Molloy and the Frontera List:

Check Out Your Employees

This is pretty low.
Dateline: SPARTA, NJ : A Lake Hopatcong woman who served as an assistant librarian at the Sparta Public Library was charged with pocketing $529 of fees collected for overdue books and lost book replacements over the past two years, police said.

Susan Simovich, 56, was charged with one count of third-degree theft of movable property on Saturday, said Sparta Police Sgt. John-Paul Beebe, a department spokesman.

Library officials began noticing discrepancies occurring in the tally sheets of fine money and the actual monies on hand on Oct. 1, 2008, Beebe said.

Sparta Police were notified of the ongoing discrepancies on July 9, 2010, and Simovich was charged after a lengthy investigation, he said. She was released, pending a Municipal Court appearance on Nov. 8, he said.

Simovich, who worked at the library for about three years, was interviewed at headquarters last Tuesday and admitted to taking $529 of the fine money over the two-year period that the discrepancies began, Beebe said.

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