$500k worth of rare books were stolen from Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, USA.
Two men have been accused of the theft of over $500,000 worth of rare books, maps and other culturally important artefacts from the library.
The thieves reached a plea deal Monday but could still be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison and be told to pay thousands of dollars in fines, as no agreement was made regarding their sentencing.
Carnegie Library communications manager Suzanne Thinnes said in a statement:
“The shock, the anger and the hurt we feel that individuals who were close to us, who were trusted by us, who were considered friends and colleagues to many of us at the library, would abuse the faith we had in them for personal gain will be with us for a very long time.”
Photo credit: Nate Smallwood for the Tribune Review
Sentencing has been set for April 17th 2020.
“This was a very serious crime committed over a long period of time by educated and well-known members of the community,” Suzanne Thinnes said. “We are hopeful that the sentences given to these two individuals will adequately reflect the significant damage done not only to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, but to the literary community near and far.”
Among the items that were stolen was a 400-year-old Bible recovered in the Netherlands in April 2019.
The two individuals concerned were ex-employee Gregory Priore, 63, who was the archivist and manager of the library’s William R. Oliver Special Collections Room from 1992 until 2017, and Oakland bookstore owner John Schulman, 56. Priore was discovered to have been stealing rare books and items from the library and selling them to the bookstore owner.
Schulman is charged with 20 counts including nine counts of theft, three counts of deceptive business practices, and four counts of conspiracy.
Priore plead guilty to single felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property. In exchange for a guilty plea the prosecutors dropped two other felony theft charges, criminal mischief and conspiracy and a misdemeanour charge of library theft.
The men both face jail time and hefty fines.