Crimes & Criminals

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

The Jan 14 Boston Herald 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).

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