Monday, October 30, 2006

Only a Librarian

Check out this story from England. Perhaps you've already seen this, but I didn't pay any attention to it until a helpful British reader sent it on.

Some poor git in Manchester stole over 400 rare books from the Manchester library and sold about 40 of them on Ebay before he was caught and arrested for being so stupid as to leave the library stamp on one of them. Of course, it wasn't his fault he stole the books. It never is. He was just heartbroken because his girlfriend dumped him. Or, as the Times puts it, he was "devastated by a relationship breakdown." My girlfriend dumped me, so I'm going to steal hundreds of rare books. That'll show her what a winner I am! Then she'll regret leaving me!

The judge was lenient and suspended his sentence, but not because of his pathetic lovesick excuse. No, it was because he helped the police recover so many of the books he stole from the people he sold them to. And even though the library didn't miss the books, it was easy to know which ones he stole. In his house the police "found more than 400 books, all of which had been indexed by the librarian using his own card system." That's right. He stole all the books and then cataloged them, saying "I am a pathetic loser" and "I am a great big librarian geek" at the same time. Only a librarian.

But there is lesson here for all you would-be book thieves. As the person who sent this on to me notes: "Apparently one can get away with anything if one is 'love-sick' and if one
maintains accurate records of the items one has stolen."

Fortunately, with the advent of Library Thing, keeping accurate records of your stolen books is easier than ever!

1 comment:

anonymous anonymous said...

Sadly, the story itself is not rare. The history of book and map theft is marked by lenient criminal sentences. In fact, so irritated was the British Library that map thief Forbes Smiley was going to get a slap on the wrist (thanks largely to his 'cooperation') they took the extraordinary step of hiring a former US Attorney to brief the sentencing judge as to a proper sentence.
The simple fact is, sentencing judges don't take book crimes seriously. Except, of course, for one extraordinary case about which there happens to be a new book.
It's expensive but, c'mon, put it on your library's tab. It's by a librarian with a librarian as heroine. That's win/win.

Here's a description at the website: