Monday, August 3, 2009

Ten Years for Stealing Library Books

Tonight, I was watching a news story about Thomas Pilaar, the book bandit. He is the man who got sentenced to ten years and $53, 549 restitution for stealing books and DVDs from several library systems in the Denver metro area.

Pilaar was using multiple cards (at least seven) and borrowing up to three hundred items per card. He admitted in the interview that he was taking out three to five hundred items a day, and making five to six hundred dollars a day doing so. He would remove all the stickers and book stamps from the books, then unload them though an online book seller. Denver Public Library alone suffered at least $35,000 in losses though his actions (he was doing this in several other of the local counties library systems). A missed book stamp is what lead someone to call the police.

All to support a drug habit.

Now I will admit that he is right about ten years being a lot for stealing library books. Other criminals doing far worse have gotten far less time. Tommorrow night, Fox31 is going to be running a story investigating whether his lawyer is partially to blame for his long sentence.

I wonder how much time I would get for not paying my lost book fines. For those who do not knowthe story: an ex-roommate of mine left with quite a few library books taken out under my library card. I owe a touch over a thousand dollars. The only reason I have not paid off the fines is simply because money has been tight forever.

I just hope that I can get the money to pay off my library fines before I am sent to jail. But then again, I truly lost the books; I am not guilty of selling them.

So how bad is the theft of books? Or the loss of books for that matter? Looking at my lost book fines, I must admit that if the library was willing to let me just replace the books, I could do it cheaper than what they have fined me.

Could it be that the library system is more sacred than pension funds and human life? Based on my library fines and the sentence of Pilaar, I would have to say that someone thinks so.

(Ok, I will admit that as a writer and a book collector [occult books] that some part of me might believe that. But I realize that is not how I am supposed to think.)

1 comment:

mrsb said...

Holy Macaroni! Over $1,000 in books and fines? I happen to know that my library has a limit to how much you can owe, thank goodness.

You might write to them, and explain what happened. Maybe they will excuse the debt, or at least let you make payments on it?