Crimes & Criminals

Who Dunnit?

Ex-Library Official charged with Embezzling $200k from City

Ex-Revere library official charged with embezzling at least $200k from city
The former director of the Revere (MA) Public Library has been indicted on charges that he embezzled at least $200,000 from the city to buy items he kept for himself or that he resold for profit on eBay and other venues.

Woman who dumped condiments in book drop pleads guilty

Woman who dumped condiments in book drop pleads guilty
An Idaho library has closed the book on a string of condiment attacks against its book-drop now that the ketchup-wielding criminal has been jailed, a Boise librarian said on Saturday.
Authorities say the 75 year old dumped an assortment of condiments including ketchup, maple syrup and mayonnaise into the book deposit because of conflicts the senior citizen had in the past with library patrons and staff.

Librarian Wants Police to Crack Down on Unruly Tweens

A NYC Upper West Side librarian says unruly tweens have become such a threatening menace to her and her staff that she needs police protection.

"They're 12 and they have no respect for us," said Bloomingdale Library manager Rebecca Donsky at a recent 24th Precinct Community Council meeting, her voice shaking with emotion as she pleaded for help controlling the youngsters.

Donsky said she asked her husband to get her pepper spray because she's worried the pre-teens might jump her one night as she's locking up at the end of a shift.

She's regularly forced to kick out rude tweens, who have called her "b--ch" more times than she can count, Donsky said.

Full article

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.

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.

School Librarian Allegedly Continued Teen Tryst

CALGARY, ALBERTA - An "inappropriate" relationship between a junior high school librarian and a student continued even after court-imposed orders forbade contact, police alleged Thursday.

The librarian, identified by QMI Agency sources as Agnes Kooy, reported to be in her late 40s, was charged this summer following a complaint brought forth by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who police say had entered into the "ongoing" relationship that began earlier in the school year.

Ted Flitton, a spokesman for the Calgary Board of Education, would not reveal the school in question, citing privacy legislation.

"What I can tell you is when Calgary Police Service told us in July that they had laid charges, we took immediate steps to have her removed from the school and all schools, and with a view to her not returning to work," Flitton said.

Police said the alleged relationship, consensual but illegal due to the boy's age, was brought to their attention by the family as well as the school.

"After remedies weren't satisfied through some sort of intervention with the parents and the school, they went to the police," Staff Sgt. Mark Hatchette told CTV.

Help Police Find Perp at Bothell Library

Bothell cops warn about child molester at library.

The Bothell (WA) Police Department has warned the public about two incidents in which a man approached a 7-year-old girl in the children's section of the Bothell Public Library, then fondled the girl.

The man is described as being a while man with brown hair. In each case, the girls' parents were in the library, which is at 18215 98th Ave. N.E., but not in the children's section.

Both incidents occurred in the last two weeks. In one of the incidents, the suspect was apparently accompanied by a blond girl who appears to be the same age as the victims.

Police need the public's help in these cases. If you have seen suspicious activity or persons at the library in the last two weeks, call the tip line at 425-487-5551.

Godin found guilty in shooting death of librarian

The 12 jurors in the first-degree murder trial of a former district librarian returned a verdict of guilty about 3:20 p.m. today.

After deliberating only 3 1/2 hours, the jury returned the verdict on the third day of the trial.

The defendant, Alan Godin, showed no reaction at the verdict, but his attorney John Convery and Northeast Lakeview College Librarian Robert Vaughn, the victim's best friend at work, lowered their heads.
Godin was arrested at the scene of the shooting, the library of Northeast Lakeview, Oct. 13, 2008, after witnesses watched him fire repeatedly at close range at Librarian Donald "Devin" Zimmerman.

Full article

Sierra Leone Deputy Librarian in Corruption Scam

There are so few corrupt librarians, but every so often, you do hear about one...or two. Here's a story from Sierra Leone:

Leaked information connecting the Deputy Chief of Sierra Leone Library said 46,650 books donated to Sierra Leone by Children International was diverted and sold to Guinea.

Investigation by this press exposed Sallieu Turay (in middle of photo above) and people unknown’s sad over-indulgences in the misappropriation of containers of books presented to school going children by ‘Children International’ in the United States. Sources say four containers of books were shipped into Sierra Leone for distributions to 300 schools in Sierra Leone.

The Deputy Chief Librarian, Sallieu Turay, was in charge of the distribution of the books, but unreasonably converted 70% of total number of books to his use or benefit. It could be recalled that Sallieu has a post graduate diploma in library studies and a master’s degree in education and administration. Findings say he was refused pursuing his master’s in library studies because of poor performance after completion of the forenamed diploma.

Two versions of the story from Sierra Express Media, here and here.

Was it the librarian? Was it the education minister?? The plot thickens.

Dayton Librarian Tackles Battering Boyfriend

Here’s a rule to live by: Don’t mess with a librarian.

Police were called Monday afternoon to the Madden Hills Branch of the Dayton Metro Library on a report of a fight in the parking lot. A second call said one of the participants was armed with a handgun.

Upon arrival, police found the back parking lot empty, though a witness told police the direction the armed suspect fled. While crews searched the neighborhood, officers talked with witnesses.

Those witnesses told police a young man was beating a young woman, apparently his girlfriend. At one point, according to witnesses, the man shoved the woman’s head into the glass entry door. Several librarians entered the parking lot, and the 18-year-old squared off with raised fists as if to attack one of the librarians.

The librarian told police he warned the young man he also worked as a bouncer. When that did not dissuade the young man’s advance, a single punch to the face did, sending the 18-year-old to the ground. The librarian told police he asked the young man to stay on the ground, that it was over, and he would not hit him again.

Dayton Daily News has the story.

Alleged Perp On Trial for Rape Outside Bloomingdale (FL) Library

TAMPA FL - Those who came into contact with Kendrick Morris in the hours after a teenage girl was raped and beaten outside a public library said they saw no indications Morris had been involved in a violent confrontation.

Not the woman who served Morris two value meals at McDonald's. Not the taxi driver who picked him up at a Walmart and not the neighbor with whom Morris stayed that night. They all testified today that Morris had no visible injuries, had no blood or other stains on his clothing and was not reeking of sweat from a physical encounter.

They were among the witnesses Morris' lawyers called in his defense. Prosecutors finished their four days of testimony Monday. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

Morris, 19, is accused of raping the girl as she dropped off books at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library in April 2008. He could face up to life in prison if convicted of sexual battery, kidnapping and aggravated battery.

He also faces up to life behind bars after being convicted last month of raping a 62-year-old day care worker in Clair-Mel City in June 2007.
Morris did not testify at either trial. The DNA evidence is not completely conclusive.

Librarian as Sleuth

In 2006, Western Washington University librarian Rob Lopresti was involved in the investigation of the theft of 648 pages that were torn from 102 rare books in Western’s Wilson Library. The investigation lasted two years and crossed state lines, finally ending with the conviction of James L. Brubaker, who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $23,000 in restitution – most of it to Western. The Western Front sat down with Lopresti to talk about the thefts. Interview follows here. The team at Erie Looking Productions interviewed Lopresti for LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast back in November 2008.

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