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Monday, November 30, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Thieves target university libraries for medical, technology and science books"

This is an important story from Linda Lipp, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, here republished in Indiana Economic Digest. Some quotes:

College textbooks are expensive, particularly in subject areas such as medicine, technology and science. That’s led to the creation of organized theft rings who steal the books from university libraries and resell them online.

The Walter E. Helmke Library at Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne has lost the same collection of mostly nursing materials twice, Library Dean Cheryl Truesdell said.

The Helmke loss was a few thousand dollars, but the library at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis has lost books valued “in the tens of thousands of dollars” said David Lewis, dean of the IUPUI library.

“It’s an organized group stealing in a fairly organized pattern,” Lewis said.

IUPUI campus police apprehended one individual believed to be in the process of taking books. The professionally dressed individual, who had no known connection to the campus, allegedly possessed a shopping list of the textbooks when taken into custody.

“It was clear that this group knows what texts are required at a college somewhere,” Lewis said.

It is believed the thieves sell the stolen books online at Amazon.com or elsewhere. When some of the books cost hundreds of dollars new, “even the resale can be quite lucrative,” Lewis said.

A medical-surgical nursing textbook listed new on Amazon.com for about $130, for example, is also listed as used by a variety of private sellers at prices ranging from $80 to $100.

Truesdell said police believe the thieves may work in teams. One goes in and finds the desired texts, and tips or shifts them slightly out of place so they are easy to spot. The second goes in and is able to more quickly locate the books and make off with them.

Helmke uses a system that buries security tags in the books, deep into the binding in random locations, but the thieves appear to be finding ways to get the books out without triggering alarms.

ILB: Textbooks are way too expensive! Here is the casebook by Orin Kerr that I was really interested in buying to read, until I saw the price, $210! Computer Crime Law (American Casebook Series) 3rd Edition.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 30, 2015 10:54 AM
Posted to Indiana Government