Crimes & Criminals

Library Theft Items Need Identification

The FBI has posted images of 57 rare books and maps in hopes of finding the owners:

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,
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. -- Read More

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. Don’t look at me,’” said Glen Fortenberry, who was at a computer when the robbers entered.

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 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. In lieu of a news miscellany a commentary is presented about online vigilantism and the need for teaching Internet ethics in light of Zero Hedge reporting a falsely identified Boston suspect being found dead, reporting that Reddit apologizing for getting their bomber crowd sourcing wrong, and PJ Media's Chicago editor saying not nice thing about social media in the Boston incident.

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like Matériel purchasing needs including subsistence support selections can be found via Amazon.

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6:38 minutes (7.6 MB)

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

The University of South Florida, a public university in Tampa with over 41,000 students, has asked the state attorney to investigate a former library director.

An audit alleges 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, two iPads, and a camera, supposedly for telecommuting -- even though the University never approved her experiment in running an academic library from 800 miles away. USF could not identify any legitimate business purpose for the camera or the second iPad. The former library director also used university funds for thousands of dollars worth of travel expenses, the USF audit said, in order to travel back and forth to the Tampa campus. 

The most financially significant issue, according to the audit, was over 1,200 hours of unrecorded personal and sick leave. The university says it paid Shattuck over $11,000 in salary that she ought to have taken as unpaid leave when her paid annual leave had run out, and would have wrongfully paid her $35,723 more had the problem not been discovered.

After being placed on administrative leave following the suspension of her purchasing card, USF says, Beverly Shattuck voluntarily resigned. A local news investigation confirmed that she was permitted to retire with benefits from her $150,000+/year job. According to that investigation, a spokesman for the state attorney's office said that criminal charges are pending.

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.

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