Crimes & Criminals

Who Dunnit?

Library Theft Items Need Identification

The FBI has posted images of 57 rare books and maps in hopes of finding the owners: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/july/fbi-seeking-owners-of-stolen-artwork/fbi-seeking-owners-of-stolen-artwork After a well-known dealer of rare maps was caught stealing from a Yale University library in 2006, a subsequent FBI investigation revealed that the man had stolen antique maps and other valuable items from institutions around the world. Most of the pilfered material was eventually returned to its rightful owners—but not all of it. *We are still in possession of 57 rare maps and books—some dating to the 17th century—and we would like to return them.* To that end, we are posting pictures and information about the items in the accompanying photo gallery in the hopes that the individuals or institutions who own them will come forward to claim them. “These items have been legally forfeited to the U.S. government,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who manages the FBI’s Art Theft Program. “Technically, they belong to the Bureau now, but we don’t want to keep them. Even though we have tried to find the rightful owners over the years, we are making another attempt.” After Edward Forbes Smiley, III was arrested for the Yale library theft http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2006/september/maps092806, he admitted stealing and selling nearly 100 rare maps from international collections over a period of seven years. With Smiley’s cooperation, we tracked down most of the dealers and collectors who purchased the approximately $3 million worth of stolen material. But returning the maps to their homes proved to be a daunting task.

Library staff, patrons robbed at gunpoint

The normal quiet of a northwest Atlanta library was shattered last week when two gunmen came in and robbed the library staff and patrons. Seven people were in the Perry Homes branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library System on Bolton Road when the hold-up happened last Friday afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News. “I heard a woman scream and I looked around, and a guy said, ‘You know what this is, get on the ground.

Santa Monica College library workers' 'diversion' saved lives

When a gunman entered the campus library, the aides moved into a closet and blocked the doors, drawing his attention away from dozens of students cramming for finals.

Full article

National Archives' treasures targeted by thieves

 Crooks are stealing pieces of American history -- like conman Barry Landau who committed the largest archival theft in the U.S. Bob Simon reports. See full piece here.

17 Year Old Killed in Library Parking Lot

WJW Fox 8 News in Cleveland reports that a teen was shot in the parking lot behind the Eastman branch of Cleveland Public Library who then later died after transport to MetroHealth Medical Center. Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the Cleveland Division of Police. WEWS News Channel 5 reported on the incident as well.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #241

As aggravated circumstances have continued longer than expected, the engineer also took on duty as acting producer this week since we continue to be short-handed.

The professionalization of library theft

The indication that an ordinary string of rare book thefts has evolved into a terrifying string of rare book thefts often comes down to this: the presence of a man whose sole job it is to get rid of library ownership marks. No other single trait indicates as certainly that a theft ring has moved from the amateur to the professional ranks. So while it seems encouraging that five people involved in the Girolamini Library thefts have been sentenced for their crimes, it had better only be the beginning of people being prosecuted. One of the men charged two months ago with playing a part in the scheme was a Bologna bookbinder whose job was to scrub books of their marks — and his presence, like that of a single cockroach, signals a much larger problem.

Library director owes us over $10,000 for personal expenses and leave, university tells state attorney

<p>The University of South Florida, a public university in Tampa with over 41,000 students, <a href="http://usf.wtsp.com/news/news/215642-librarian-steals-thousands-usf">has asked the state attorney to investigate a former library director</a>.</p><p>An audit <a href="http://www.wtsp.com/assetpool/documents/130328070158_USF%20Investigation.pdf">alleges</a> that Beverly Shattuck, formerly director of the medical library at USF, sold her Tampa-area house and moved to Virginia Beach, VA, using university funds to purchase a MacBook Air

Miami Public Library's Statue stolen...again

The bronze statue of a young boy dreamily gazing into the sky as he reads from a book in his lap was discovered missing on Thursday morning.

The statue has been stolen before and recovered.

Full article

On the Media - Aaron Swartz

On January 11, 26-year-old hacker, programmer, and activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide. He had a history of depression and faced federal prosecution for downloading millions of articles from the online academic article repository JSTOR. Brooke talks to Gawker's Adrian Chen, who wrote about Swartz's legal troubles this week. Download MP3 of piece here.

Law Profs Look at the Aaron Swartz Case

Chris Meadows at TeleRead referred to the recent suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz as a gross miscarriage of justice. Law professor Orin Kerr digs into the basis of the charges that were filed against Swartz while law professor Ann Althouse questions the end result of the situation while noting that something does not add up.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #228

This week's program deals with Wikipedia hoaxing, an Internet icon, and a miscellany of brief items.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. The list of hardware sought to replace our ever-increasing damage control report can be found here and can be directly purchased and sent to assist The Air Staff in rebuilding to a more normal operations capability.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #227

The tag line for this week's episode: "Information As Weapon"

We've got a bit of an essay talking about that in connection with an awful case in Ohio. Information might want to be free, but couldn't it also be used as a weapon?

There's no miscellany this week as we thought that that would be enough to consider within the realm of preserving the knowledge ecology.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net.

There is an opportunity available to purchase material goods to replace some of the hardware that has died at Erie Looking Productions over the past three weeks.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

What Are You Doing About DVD Thefts in Public Libraries?

My library has experienced an extremely high rate of DVD thefts in the past 6 months and are looking into solutions to the problem. Some of the thefts, we beleive, are drug related. Have public libraries experienced a spike in DVD thefts this year? What are some of the reasons for this? What are public libraries doing about the situation? What solutions are they looking into? What have they tried? We also experience a high rate of periodical thefts as well.

Stealing iPads from a Baby

From the NY Daily News:

A sticky-fingered thief stole one of four iPads from the Children's section at the newly renovated branch of the Park Slope (Brooklyn NY) Library.

“It’s a shame that someone would go to such lengths to steal an iPad that was being used to engage and teach children in one of our libraries,” said BPL spokesman Jason Carey.

“Someone jimmied open the protective casing and took it out,” he said. “The casing was secured to the table.”

The Park Slope library is the first branch in the borough to have iPads only for the young.

The branch showed off the gizmos during its September 13th reopening of the renovated reading space which attracted the likes of legendary Brooklyn writer Pete Hamill and other Kings County bigwigs.

Ex-librarian gets little jail time for theft

Ex-librarian gets little jail time for theft
The support of the library district she stole from and ill effects of medication led to a milder sentence for a former St. Elmo library director Friday. She received a 30-day jail sentence despite recommendations from both state and defense attorneys and medical professionals she not be incarcerated.

Stolen rare documents returned to Vt. library

A brazen thief strolled into the lower level of the Bailey / Howe Library last year and walked off with the letters. Federal prosecutors said the crook was Barry Landau, whom they described as a con man masquerading as a presidential researcher and historian. Landau pled guilty and was sentenced in June to seven years in prison for plundering a string of libraries and archives along the East Coast. Investigators said Landau planned to sell the autographs to collectors.

Full story

Cops Say Japanese Man Stole More Than 1,100 Library Books

Japanese police have arrested a 61-year-old man accused of stealing more than 1,100 library books.
Officials say Mitsuka Suizu was initially arrested in July for taking a few books from the public library in Nagato, in western Japan. When police searched his home in the city of Ube, Suizu admitted to taking 1,170 books over a seven-year period, and stashing them at home, where he lived with his wife and two children.

Full article

Harry Hay screenplay missing library suspects theft

Harry Hay screenplay missing, library suspects theft
The San Francisco Public Library appears to have been the victim of a screenplay heist.

On July 30, main library staff discovered that the 1938 screenplay “Largo: A Story Out of the Life of George Friederich Handel” was missing from a locked plexiglass case in the Jewett Gallery. The screenplay was on display as part of the “Radically Gay: The Life of Harry Hay” exhibit, which ran from April 21 to July 29.

Pranksters rearrange books stack furniture in pair library break-ins

Kids in Orleans County sometimes complain there’s little to do in the Northeast Kingdom, but police say a few turned to midnight mischief at two public libraries and a Town Hall to help pass the time.

Books were rearranged. Furniture was piled almost to the ceiling. A needed date stamp went missing.
“The children’s books were moved to the adult section. The adult books were moved into the children’s room. They just took handfuls of books and were just shelving them,” Eubanks said about the May mischief at the Glover library. She said chairs and tables were stacked at Town Hall that night, too.

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