Sunday, December 11, 2005


Why Libraries Don't Sell Slurpees

Turns out Salt Lake City isn't the only place where book theft concerns are brewing. In Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that librarians are asking police to throw the book -- sorry, it couldn't be helped -- at four guys who held up a library last year:

Over the past year, dozens of librarians and curators from across Kentucky have fired off letters to U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Coffman in Lexington, urging her not to go easy on four defendants who stole rare manuscripts and sketches from the Transylvania University special collections library in December 2004..... What shocked librarians about the Transylvania theft was the physical assault on special collections librarian B.J. Gooch, who was incapacitated with a stun gun and then tied up.... The Transylvania case "combined the most frightening elements of blue-collar crime with white-collar library crime," said Miles Harvey, an author of a book about a famous map thief. "It was a like a 7-11 knock-off with armed assailants while taking cultural artifacts."

Curiously, the one thing the article doesn't mention is just what exactly got stolen. An AP account earlier this year reveals one of the key items: a manuscript of Darwin's Origin of Species. Apparently, though, the robbers did not have a keen sense of irony. The AP account also notes that "the men used color-coded nicknames -- "Mr. Black," "Mr. Green," "Mr. Pink" and "Mr. Yellow" -- inspired by the 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs."

"The film" the AP reporter helpfully adds, "was about a botched robbery."

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