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4,000 library books stolen from garage

4,000 library books stolen from garage
Friday, May 01, 1998
By Ann Belser, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

More than 4,000 library books were stolen from a garage in Fineview.
Laura Shelley, the interim director of the Northland Library, said
that from 200 to 300 boxes of books had been stored in her garage for
the library's annual book sale, which starts at 6 p.m. today.
But early last week, when she opened the garage door expecting to see
the garage nearly full of boxes, she found it nearly empty.
She said she just figured that the library's maintenance workers, who
bring the books to her garage to store, had found someplace else to
put them.
But when she asked about the book storage, they said they had last
been in the garage in early April and that it was nearly full of
boxes. She said the maintenance crew, unable to believe that someone
would steal used books, went back to her garage and found that only 55
boxes of books remained.
No one counted the boxes as they were moved into the garage.
"The problem is we don't know for sure how many are missing," she
Once she realized the books were stolen, she reported the theft to
the Pittsburgh police and the McCandless police April 23. She said
she hasn't called any second-hand book dealers to see if anyone tried
to sell books with Northland Library book plates in them.
Pittsburgh police acknowledged the theft had been reported but
declined to talk about their investigation.
Shelley said the McCandless library raised $7,000 last year with the
sale. This year, the library will have half as many books to sell.
Library volunteers have spent the past two weeks scrounging to make
up for the lost books in order to make the sale a success, she said.
Shelley said she doesn't know why anyone would take the books. She
said they aren't valuable to anyone but the library, which prices them
between 50 cents and $4.
The books were a combination of those culled from the library's
shelves to make room for new volumes and those donated for the book
"What we're trying to make sure is that we salvage the book sale,"
she said. "I'd love to catch the person."
Shelley said the books for the annual book sale have been stored in
her garage, which was locked, for about 15 years, because the library
did not have room for them. There was no sign of forced entry.
Shelley, who had been the library's director for 26 years, resigned
from the library in October amid questions about missing records on
municipal contributions. She said her resignation had nothing to do
with the missing records and she has continued to work as interim
director until a new director takes over.
The new library director, Susan Collins of Utah, is scheduled to
start working at Northland May 18.
The library serves five North Hills municipalities: Ross, McCandless,
Bradford Woods, Franklin Park and Marshall.

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