Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another Massive-Scale Library Thief

A 22-year old student library assistant at Texas Tech has been indicted for the theft of more than $75,000 worth of library books which he sold to an online textbook buyer, the AP reports, drawing on an earlier article in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (h/t Vic at Tavistock Books). Johnathan Nunley used a late-night circ desk shift to pilfer more than 1,000 newly-arrived library items and arranged to ship them to McKenzie Books (cash4books.net).

Nunley removed pages from the books which contained library identification marks, and tried to hide other identifiers using magic marker. He had received almost $15,000 for those books that he stole-and-sold.

The indictment, handed down late last month, was on a third degree felony theft charge, which can carry a term of up to ten years in prison.

Texas Tech plans to change its student employment policy in the wake of the Nunley thefts, and may implement video surveillance of the circulation area.

For shame, for shame. I hope he gets the full ten years, and I hope that as with the Smiley thefts and others, libraries realize that they must become both more vigilant and more diligent about training their staff members as to the mission of the library (Miles Harvey's The Island of Lost Maps should be required reading, I think). Also, I must reserve some blame for the bookseller, who ought to have noticed Nunley's obscuring tactics long before a thousand books had come their way.

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