Some Terrible Person Is Stealing Books From Libraries, Selling Them Online

Public libraries are an amazing resource where you can access books, music, movies, and even e-books without having to pay. However, there’s a criminal somewhere in Pennsylvania who isn’t checking books out from local libraries: he or she is evading the anti-theft systems, removing new books and best-sellers from the library, and selling them.

How many books are we talking about here? From just one library, Cooper Siegel Library in Fox Chapel, PA, books about $6,000 are missing. That’s their replacement value, not necessarily what the alleged thief will be able to get for them in online book markets?

Would customers know? Not necessarily. Libraries get rid of excess and no longer popular books all the time. Sometimes they’re sold in book sales, sometimes recycled, sometimes given away. If the thief has a stamp that says “DISCARDED” and stamped up the stolen books with it, as libraries do when they purge their collections, no customers would suspect anything.

Library books usually contain concealed magnetic or RFID anti-theft devices, and the thief is either removing these or leaving through an alternate exit.

The good news is that law enforcement is on the case: there is a suspect, who they hope to arrest soon. Just be careful if you’ve bought any used books online lately that originated in a library in Pennyslvania.

Thief Takes $6K Worth Of Bestsellers From Library, Sells Online [CBS Pittsburgh]

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  1. Xenotaku says:

    In my area, they’d been having problems with people stealing DVDs and turning them into Half Priced Books.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      When our local library reopened after a long remodel, it had a shelf of just DVD cases. At the machine by the DVDs you scan your library card, then you scan the barcode on a case, and the disc comes out of a slot, at which point you put it in the case. It’s like a jukebox player inside the (locked) machine, with a carousel, so unless you fake a library card, they know which discs you have out.

      Now, I’ve still seen some cases with UltraViolet codes in them which might still work, and you can still use the discs to build a streaming library with the disc-to-digital programs, although it does cost $1-5 each. The first is morally questionable, as the code can only be used once, but the second isn’t using up anything that the library or another patron can’t use afterwards.