In Kent, UK, a serial book ripper has been targeting a library and a charity shop in a seaside town leaving staff and patrons bewildered.
The anti-book vigilante has secretly torn pages from books being sold in a children’s charity shop, and have also targeted the local town library. According to the staff- up to 15 books per week are damaged by this mystery person.
The Terrible Book Ripper of Herne Bay rips pages horizontally in half before placing the book back on the shelf. They have been targeting the store since April and seem to be able to avoid capture by doing the damage out of sight of staff.
Store manager, Nick Rogers, told Kent Online: “We initially had the odd book getting torn, which we dismissed as being children or someone trying to prank us,”
“But in the last couple of months, we’ve been finding about 10 or 15 a week. They can be worth anything up to £3. We wouldn’t sell a book with one ripped page, but in some of them it’s all the pages,”
“It seems to be right round the corner where we can’t see them – in the true crime, sport, travel and miscellaneous sections.”
Herne Bay in Kent: home to the mysterious book ripper
The charity shop proceeds are donated to Demelza Hospice Care for Children, a charity for children battling serious, or terminal illnesses.
The manager explained that the staff have tried to catch or deter the vandal:
“I’ve put signs up and we’re making our presence known. Other than that, though, we’re not really sure what we can do. It’s really sad and disappointing because we’re totally reliant on people donating them in good faith to raise funds – to then have someone destroy them seems so senseless.”
Books in the nearby library in the High Street have also been targeted in the last 6 months, but no pattern has been determined as the book ripper targets different sections of the library.
A Kent County Council spokesman have downplayed the drama by saying:
“The damage to books at Herne Bay Library is obviously disappointing. However, we do not consider 20 books over six months to be an epidemic and not comparable to the situation at the Demelza charity shop. Members of staff are now being extra watchful to try to catch the person responsible or at least cut down on the opportunities to cause more damage.”