Crimes & Criminals

Who Dunnit?

Finland Goes Easy on Map Thief

A Finnish judge has gone easy on map thief Melvin Nelson Perry:

British citizen Melvin Nelson Perry, 45, was given an 18-month prison sentence on Tuesday for stealing six valuable maps from the map collection of Finnish explorer A. E. Nordenskiöld from the library of the University of Helsinki in February this year. In spite of his prison sentence, Perry walked out of Helsinki District Court a free man, as he was not immediately ordered into custody. It is unlikely that he will ever have to serve his time unless he decides to come to Finland voluntarily.

Perry has not yet decided if he plans to appeal his sentence. He said that he would be willing to do community service, \"but not in a public library\", he added.

More from the Helsingin Sanomat.

Anti-theft device needed for library books

This from Japan reporting that the Tottori
Prefectural Library was found to have lost 6400
volumes since it opened in 1990. In recent months
several libraries have reported losses. They are
considering installing a Book Detection
System.

The Asahi Shimbun reports:
\"The prefecture\'s administrative surveillance team
was brought in, with the governor\'s strict orders to get to
the bottom of the matter. Governor Yoshihiro Katayama
apologized in public for his own ``supervisory
oversight,\'\' and served a written warning to the chief
librarian.\"

Full Story

Unlucky library thief

Matt Eberle sent in This One on a would-be thief that tried to rob a library while the local policeman was giving a presentation on crime statistics.

The Citizen newspaper said Superintendent Christo Heunis was addressing business people last Tuesday when the building\'s alarm went off.


\"It was quite ironic. I was actually presenting crime figures at the time,\" the newspaper quoted Heunis as saying.

17th-century texts stolen from Oxford

Always helpful Charles Davis passed along This Times UK Story
on several 400-year-old theology books that have disappeared from the Bodleian Library at Oxford, just days after thieves tried to
snatch precious watches, silver and gold from the university’s
neighbouring Ashmolean Museum.

The 17th-century books, worth about £20,000, had been
available to study on request and were not in display cases.
They think ten large volumes were smuggled out of the library, concealed in clothing.

Book Thief Pays Up - Gets Probation

A Gladstone, Missouri man found guilty of stealing some 58 books valued at about $800 has been forced to pay back $2,118 in damages and has been put on probation for one-year. He stole the books from a number of libraries and then attempted to sell them on E-Bay. Two online bidders contacted the library after purchasing the stolen books. More proof that crime doesn\'t pay, especially on E-Bay. [more...] from The Liberty Sun News.

More library thefts

Another story on thefts of CDs and DVDs from a public library. This time, the items were taken to a pawnshop and the suspicious shopowner notified police. The most amazing thing to me is that Timberland Regional Library allows users to check out up to 200 items at a time. Surely noone has that much free time?

Stolen goods in, literary heritage out

The Guardian (UK) has this story on how Britain is becoming the
new centre for the illegal trafficking of rare books and
manuscripts, many of which have been stolen from European
libraries.
While they can\'t seem to keep the illegal stuff out, the
good stuff is getting away.
This story
from The Independent on how British libraries
are not able to
compete with \"wealthy American libraries\" which are
offering big bucks to buy up the papers of famous modern
British authors including Ted Hughes, Martin Amis and Salman
Rushdie.
Now if someone will just point me at one of these wealthy
American libraries...

Book Thief Nabbed

Bob Cox forwarded this along from Jimmy D. McKee, Director, Caldwell County Public Library\"
\"Colleagues, Just wanted to let you know that the lady we suspect of purloining our books has been nabbed according to our local detective who was working the case. She had more than 2,000 books some of which she claims were purchased at yard sales. The detective says that they did find records on her computer where items had been sold. Most of the books are being held by the Hickory Police department and the lead detective there, Danny Stewart, said that they would be inventorying the books and contacting the libraries involved to see about getting your materials back and to see if you want to file a warrant. We did get an editorial in our local paper this morning chiding us for checking out so many books to one individual. It is evident that most of our policies are directed toward the honest users of our libraries and perhaps this was a warning for all of us to reassess our policies and procedures in some areas. With relative ease this lady checked out close to $50,000 worth of materials!\"

NC Book Thief on the Prowl

Bob Cox forwarded this along with this warning: \"Granted this is North Carolina orientated, but these \'people\' have a habit
of crossing state borders.\"

\"Several libraries in our area, Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and Iredell so far, have probably been victimized by a book thief.  She is very clever and evidently has had no trouble obtaining a library card in all these libraries as she presents identification.  She has given the following names, April Bumgardner, Newyum, Hudson, Nelson, & Coleman so far.  All the above libraries have overdue books checked out by this lady that unfortunately number more than 600 items so far.  She used to work at a bookstore and it appears that many of these items are listed on her Internet site for sale.
More....

Stolen Library Card Results in $1,000 Fine

Sarah Jean writes \"
Christina Dougherty has persuaded the library board to review its stolen-book policy at its next meeting April 18.... “I’ve ruled out libraries. I’m not going to get another library card.”


Is this something that public libraries should be considering? Are we pushing away potential library users? \"


The Tacoma, WA, Public Library gave her a $1,000 fine for materials taken by a thief using her stolen card.

Full Story

Library Thefts Raise Concerns Over Security

The videos, DVDs and compact discs on the shelves are making public libraries a target for thieves, who can sell recently released music and movies on the street for a tidy sum. The thefts have raised the issue of whether libraries should offer recently released videos and CDs to their patrons and whether they should cut back on the number they buy. \"Short of not buying these kinds of releases, the best thing libraries can do is wait until the releases are no longer new releases,\'\' said Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayer\'s Union. Sepp said another option would be to prohibit the checkout of videos and CDs and to instead require patrons to view or listen to them at the library. But some librarians bristle at the idea of cutbacks or restrictions. [more...] from The Columbus Dispatch.

Librarians vigilant after rare-book thefts

Bob Cox sent in another Book Theft Story. As rare books get rarer, libraries become targets.

\"Libraries are really sitting ducks, as lay people become aware of how much some of their things might be worth,\" said Ken Sanders, security committee chairman for the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.

Library thefts uncovered

Bob Cox sent in this Pioneer Planet Story on the big find of Hundreds (over 800)of books missing from Twin Cities libraries in a mans home. The police expect to seek felony theft charges against 36-year-old man. In one case he checked out every copy of an aquarium book carried at three Dakota County libraries, using different names. Full Story

``His reading tastes were rather eclectic,\'\' said Roseanne Byrne, assistant director of the Dakota County library system. ``I think he probably was playing a wonderful game, a complicated game, and wanted to see how far it would go for whatever reason.\'\'

Library DVDs Stolen, Sold

This story really bothers me.Bob Cox sent in This Story from Cleveland.com on DVD theft ring. A local CD Warehouse had more than 800 CDs and 90 DVDs from libraries in the store!!! They never even bothered to take off the library labels! Employees told police they thought the music and movies were library discards.

\"One of the suspects asked us how many CDs and DVDs were recovered,\" Lentz said. \"When we told him, he said, That’s nothing. We took thousands of them.\"

UPDATE: 12/1 9:45amA New Story today says the thefts were due to a crappy old security system (Sounds like tatle strips)

\"There\'s no security system made that can\'t be beaten,\" Wood said. \"If you\'re serious about stealing material, there\'s not much I can do about it.\"

Rare books stolen from Harvard

Ever vigilant Bob Cox sent in this Story from Boston.com on
some very rare books that went missing from Harvard.
In March, Chun Shum, a rare books specialist at the
library, discovered treasured volumes of poetry and
painting date back more than 1,000 years, had been
snatched from their protected perch in the rare book
room.

\'\'These are works of huge historic and
literary importance,\'\' said Nancy Cline, head librarian of
Harvard College, who oversees the world\'s largest
academic collection of books. \'\'It\'s very difficult to
estimate the impact of their loss.\'\'

Rare African maps stolen from S.Africa library

CNN has this story about rare maps stolen from a university library in South Africa.\"Fifteen maps were stolen on Saturday from the William Cullen Library at the University of the Witwatersrand. They are extremely rare and extremely valuable,\" Dr. Alan Crump, a professor of fine arts at the university, told Reuters.\"

Pedal to work, get bike stolen

Brian writes \"Despite the mayor\'s enthusiasm for
bicycles-as-transportation, Chicago Public Library still
has no secure bike parking for employees. Chicago
Tribune
columnist Eric Zorn has the Story.
\"


He suggests, in part:

\"Put a cage around one of
those indoor parking spaces now used by an
environmentally unfriendly, traffic-thickening car and
make it a bike locker for employees; shove supplies
aside somewhere in the bowels of the building and
designate a bike parking area; or let employees park
their bikes near their work spaces.\"

Open policy aided rare-book theft from Lawrence library

Eight valuable books taken from locked display case. Read about it Here. From the Post-Crescent.

Lawrence University\'s Seeley G. Mudd Library Heritage Room is some book nook. The curtained, dimly lit alcove is home to a collection of 2,600 rare volumes dating from the 16th
century. Some of the volumes in the Heritage Room are illuminated manuscripts. Some are art books designed to be pieces of art themselves.

Although it houses a book collector\'s wealth of treasure, the room is not under lock and key.

Man pleads guilty to watching child porn at uni

Mister Cow Cow writes "From Iowa: Man pleads guilty to watching child porn at university library, A man accused of watching child pornography on a computer at the main library at the University of Iowa last summer has pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Russell Pitcher of Coralville faces up to five years in prison and a 75-hundred dollar fine.

According to campus police, Pitcher was caught watching child porn at the library in August. He also had a box of computer disks, two of which contained child porn."

Related article on Transylvania rare books theft

Catherine Lavallée-Welch writes "Article on rare books thefts in libraries, following the event at Transylvania University. Snitch.com Has The Story"

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