|A single page ripped from an old book on flowers can be sold as an antiquarian print for over $100.|
William Jacques had already been in jail for four years for stealing rare books, but he couldn't stop. He was caught again, this time stealing books on flowers from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley library. (The book was Nouvelle Iconographie des Camellias, by Ambroise Verschaffelt.)
With low-tech methods not much more sophisticated than your average shoplifter, William Jacques simply walked into the library and stuffed the rare books under his clothes.
He was smart, though - he knew which books were valuable and could be auctioned off whole, or cut apart and sold piecemeal.
Many of the books he targeted are not easily accessible to the general public. But one bookseller said that Jacque "is very adept at it. He seems to wheedle his way in and be very convincing."
One thing that's stopped the police from catching book thieves is the same thing that also stops many who've been conned: a reluctance and embarassment to admit that anything was stolen.
In many cases, the victims are worried about how library donors would react.
Security professionals are trying to teach libraries to balance patron's access to books and protection from criminals.
(Mr. Jacques, who was nicknamed the "Tome Raider," has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail.)
How thieves target rare books, Read article at the BBC News Magazine>>