Tuesday, August 05, 2008

British Electrician "Sentenced" for Map Thefts

Tony Campbell reports on MapHist that Richard Delaney, 37, of Birmingham, England has been sentenced to a term of one year in prison (which has been suspended for 18 months) for the thefts of "about £89,000" worth of rare books and maps from the Birmingham University Library.

The thefts - which apparently occurred while Delaney was doing electrical work at the University - were discovered in February when police searched Delaney's home after he tried to use a gas card he'd been given by a former boss (who'd fired Delaney after he refused to return a work van). Delaney told police "he had access to the special collections room of the university library where he was carrying out electrical work. He claimed he had taken the maps from books out of interest intending to read them and return the items. ... He said he had not initially realised the value of the maps and books although he did realise later and was going to sell them."

The judge told Delaney yesterday "You committed an offence where items of considerable value were stolen and I think you knew they were items of significant value," and yet he still accepted Delaney's defence (financial pressures due to drug problems, naturally) and suspended the sentence. Apparently the fact that Delaney hadn't actually gotten around to selling the items helped him out in this instance.

All of the items were recovered. And Delaney's wrist is perfectly fine.