Crimes & Criminals

Who Dunnit?

Iowa woman arrested for keeping library book

An Independence woman was arrested on theft charges Thursday for failing to return a library book.

Shelly J. Koontz, 39, was arrested just after 8 p.m. at her residence after a warrant had been issued. She was originally charged with fifth-degree theft for keeping "The Freedom Writers Diary," which she checked out from the Jesup Public Library in April 2008.

Jesup Police Chief Rick Deitrick said the book was valued at $13.95.

"Theft is theft, no matter what it is," Deitrick said.

Lost Library Card Leads To Identity Theft

An Omaha woman who lost her library card said its disappearance nearly wound up costing her hundreds of dollars.

Michelle Anderson said she last remembered using her library card in September.
"I think I used that self-checkout and, being me, I left my card on the self-checkout," she said. "It's the only thing I can think of.

A couple of months later, notices from the library started arriving in the mail. Anderson said she threw them away, thinking they were for a $5 fine she owes.

It wasn't until another letter arrived from a collection agency that she realized someone had checked out more than $584 worth of materials in her name and the library was holding her accountable.

Full story here.

Revere Public Library Director Resigns over Inappropriate Purchases Using City Funds

<a href="http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2009_01_14_Revere_library_chief_resigns_amid_inquiry/srvc=home&position=also">The Jan 14 Boston Herald</a> is reporting that the Revere(Mass) Public Library Director resigned on Tuesday because of inquires into "inappropriate purchases" using city funds. "A source close to the police investigation said the purchases include “thousands” spent on, among other things, a watch and home furnishings."

Bad Apple Law Librarian?

The longtime law librarian at the Santa Maria court complex is facing felony charges for allegedly burglarizing the Solvang residence of a local attorney and stealing firearms and jewelry. Lompoc (CA) Record.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office on Dec. 23 filed charges of first-degree residential burglary and grand theft firearm against Stephen Christopher Zaharias, 69.

Zaharias, of Santa Maria, is due in court Jan. 13 to be formally charged, according to a source with the District Attorney’s Office who asked to remain anonymous.

The librarian is suspected of breaking into and burglarizing the Solvang condo of attorney Milton H. Yoshimoto on Dec. 12, according to the source. Zaharias later tried to sell guns stolen from the residence at an Oxnard gun shop, the source said.

Thief Messes With Wrong Librarian

Ann Arbor (MI) District Library Director Josie Parker may have a pleasant Southern accent and good manners, but don't question her toughness.

On Sunday, Parker pursued a thief after he grabbed a collection box of money donated for the library's Family Book Club. In the process, she fractured a tibia and the thief got away - but not with any money. Go Josie!

The incident took place Sunday about 9:35 p.m. at the Borders store in the Arborland shopping area in east Ann Arbor. Parker was volunteering with a gift-wrapping program that benefits the book club. While Parker was wrapping gifts, a man in his 20s approached and stole the donation box, and Parker instinctively went after him.

"He tripped in front of her and she shoved him to keep from falling into him, and twisted her knee trying to recover,'' said Prue Rosenthal, a library board member.

"He went flat down, crushing the box containing the money and then he scrambled up and ran away,'' Rosenthal said in an e-mail account of the incident. MLive story.

Vehicle Crashes into California Library

What is it about libraries that attracts crashing cars?

A stolen car crashed into the south wall of the Al McCandless Library in Indio early today, police said.

Indio police responded at 12:51 a.m. to an alarm going off at the Riverside County library at 200 Civic Center Mall, said Ben Guitron of the Indio Police Department.

``We discovered there was a dark blue Honda Civic, which was incidentally also a reported stolen vehicle from two days prior,'' Guitron said. ``It had crashed into the south wall of the library.''

The Honda was still running, and Indio firefighters turned off the car, Guitron said. The perp got away after downing several bookcases.

Internet Crime Complaint Center Posts New "Vishing" Update

The Internet Crime Complaint Center, part of the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States, posted a warning about a potential attack on a particular sort of system. In private branch exchange ("PBX") settings, entities like offices or even dormitories can conserve the number of external telephone lines needed while allowing in-house station to station contact. For any libraries using the package Asterisk, there is a Caller ID spoofing vulnerability that may force an upgrade.

The holidays are a very stressful time of year and a great opportunity for criminals to do bad things. Keeping in mind patron privacy laws is one way to ensure the case the FBI notes won't be a problem. Patching software holes is another part of a holistic solution.

Holiday Cybercrime Warning

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a release from their National Press Office warning about holiday cybercrime. The release highlighted greeting card scams as well as avoiding them. Links were also provided to the Internet Crime Complaint Center as well as to their page listing scams.

In the holiday season, this may be helpful to front-line library staff where public access computer labs are found.

To Catch a Thief

The Choctawhatchee High School librarian, concerned that someone had been removing money from the "school store" cash box, marked two $1 bills to try and catch the culprit, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office offense report. She had a suspect in mind and photocopied the bills before placing them in there.

For the exciting conclusion...NWFlorida Daily News.

Stolen Shakespeare folio suspect re-arrested

The curious case of a stolen First Folio of Shakespeare's plays took a new twist Thursday when police in northeast England re-arrested the prime suspect for more questioning.

Police in Durham said new evidence had been found.

The mystery involves a collection of the plays published in 1623 that was stolen from the Durham University library in 1998. Experts said it could be worth up to 15 million pounds ($24 million).

2007 a Big Year for Japanese Library Thefts

About 284,000 books worth more than 400 million yen went missing from public libraries in Tokyo and other major cities across the country in fiscal 2007, a Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found.

Most of the books are believed to have been stolen, the survey said.
In many cases, thieves left the dust jackets of the books they took on shelves in place of the books, library officials said in the survey.

Story from Yomuiuri Shimbun.

Robber Nabbed @ Your Library

A chase and a capture at the Winston-Salem Public Central Library...reported by Journal Now.

Not just your average day at the Forsyth Library...the robber ran from a parking garage, through a Methodist Church and then with police in pursuit, to the lower level of the Central Library, which houses the periodicals department.

Natalia Tuchina, a supervisor, said she saw a man run into the corner of the building. A group of police officers chased him. She said the man fled to an opposite corner, then ran up the staircase that leads to the main level of the library.

Police then surrounded him, drew their guns and ordered him to the ground, Tuchina said. They handcuffed him and led him through the library's main entrance into a waiting police car.

The periodicals section has a maze of stacks and no exits or windows in the back, where the man had run to, Tuchina said. "I guess the guy didn't know where to run," she said.

Rare Book Thieves Get Off Easy

A federal judge declined Thursday to give additional prison time to four men serving 87-month sentences for stealing rare books and assaulting a librarian with a taser.

In February, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Charles Allen, Eric Borsuk, Warren Lipka and Spencer Reinhard — all from Lexington (KY) — should have received more time than the 7 years, 3 months they were given after they pleaded guilty to the high-profile theft from Transylvania University in April 2005.

Here's the LISNews original report from 2005 (how do you like them archives??), and here's more on the recent ruling on time served from Bluegrass Beat.

Light Fingered Lincoln Librarian Gets the Ax

The head of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield has been fired after his second shoplifting arrest. Director Rick Beard had been on administrative leave since the arrest was made public last week.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich fired Beard on Tuesday. A state spokesman says Beard was notified by phone. Beard was arrested in August and charged with stealing $40 worth of DVDs from a Springfield Target store. The 61-year-old has pleaded not guilty. Chicago Tribune.

This was the press release announcing Beard's appointment two years ago. President Lincoln's Bicentennial is coming up shortly; I wonder what Beard's firing will mean for the celebration.

Update...from the AP: Jan Grimes, director of the Historic Preservation Agency, will run the Lincoln museum and library temporarily. Robert Coomer, a former director of Historic Preservation, will replace Beard at the foundation.

Nearly 6,000 books go missing from libraries in 18 months

Harrow Observer - London,UK - Thousands of pounds' worth of books have gone missing from Harrow libraries in the past 18 months, many of which will need replacing.

Nearly 6,000 books in total have been listed as 'lost' since January last year from Harrow's 11 libraries, some of which cost as much as £40.

Reward offered for missing library statue

The Suffolk police Crime Stoppers agency is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone who can help detectives track down those responsible for stealing a bronze memorial statue from the Commack Public Library.

Memorial Statue Stolen in Long Island

How's this for a sad story?

Shana Kay was passionate about reading. For that reason, her family decided to commemorate that love after her unexpected death in July 2005 with a bronze statue of a young girl on a bench reading a book. It was installed at her beloved local library.

But overnight Thursday, someone took the statue from the front entrance of Commack Public Library, 18 Commack Rd. It had been bolted and cemented into the ground and weighed as much as 300 pounds.

The suspicion is that it was stolen for scrap.

"It's unfathomable," said Jane Kay, Shana's mother, of Commack. "It's a sad commentary on humanity."

Thief steals 150 books from Fairfax Co. library

Daily Press - Newport News,VA - Authorities are searching for a thief who took about 150 books from a Fairfax County public library.

According to a police report, the suspect stole the books Sept. 9 from the Fairfax City Regional Library, which is part of the county system.

Library officials wouldn't say how the theft occurred. But police say a library manager said an unknown woman had been seen removing bar codes from books and placing them in a bag.

Rutherford B. Hayes Library Visited by Light-Fingered Trio

Some say that President Hayes stole the 1876 election from his Democratic opponent, Samuel Tilden, but now it's the Hayes Library that has suffered a loss. Two of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library's rarest books, with a total value of about $130,000, are missing.

While authorities have arrested three people believed connected to the disappearances, it's still not known where the books are. The books are the Maxwell Code and the Freeman Code, some of Ohio's first laws, dating back to the 1790's.

One of the thieves was previously arrested in 2007 in connection with the theft of $20,000 worth of antique maps from a bookstore in Harrisburg, IL. He also has a prior arrest record for felony theft and receiving stolen property. Toledo Blade reports.

MS Library Looking at Security Options After Teen Stashes Weapon There

Readers of the Desoto Times are being polled about the possible use of metal detectors in the library after a gun was found stashed behind the First Regional Library in Hernando Mississippi, a place described by the library's executive director as "a nice peaceful town'.

Catherine Nathan said she was reluctant to consider the installation of metal detectors, but would leave that decision up to the Board of Trustees. Said Nathan “We didn’t think the day would come when we would talk about guns and the library. I hired a security guard this past year and we have security cameras outside the library. Now it does pull us up short”.

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