News 5 Investigates

Apr 23, 2013 6:20 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 Investigates: Library thefts result in big losses

More than 75,000 books, CD's and DVD's have gone missing from libraries across Colorado Springs since 2009. 

"Others can't use that material if they haven't returned it," Sydne Dean with the Pikes Peak Library District said. "We'd like people to return their books so everyone can share."

Below are the loss stats provided through data obtained under the Colorado Open Records Act:

Year: Lost items:    Remaining owed:
2009     16,321         $243,549
2010     17,682         $274,815
2011     18,475         $306,491
2012     22,928         $406,189

"It's not great, nor is it good," Dean said. "But, it's not out of the question for the cost of doing business."

Below are the libraries policies on checking out merchandise:
Books: 100
Books on CD: 100
CD-ROMs: 20
Cybershelf Materials: 20
DVD's: 20
eReaders: 1
Magazines: 100
Music CD's: 20
Pamphlets: 100
Video Games: 3

News 5 asked, "When you can check out 100 books or 100 books on CD, that's a lot of money. Aren't you taking a pretty big risk if you don't know me as a person?"

Dean replied, "We have your information. We can track you down."

The library says most people don't check out 100 items at a time, but admitted it has happened.

"You might do that if you are running a home school," Dean said.

News 5 asked, "We've heard of cases where people check out large quantities of items and then take them to Half Price Books or some other form of a resale shop to pawn them. Have you heard of this?"

Dean replied, "We have, more with CD's than anything else. We've actually gone to the resale shops and tell them to look for our "identifying marks" on the materials and to call us and not accept them."

Those efforts have paid off.

Nearly 17,000 items have been returned or recovered in recent years. Still, that doesn't amount to the more than $1 million dollars lost over the past 4 years. 

All laptops are accounted for thanks to GPS tracking technology.

Last week, Colorado Springs police arrested Carrie Carley, 40, along with a juvenile for identity theft and theft of merchandise.

Police say the pair are responsible for using a stolen library card to check out thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from three different branches.

A search warrant was conducted at 4445 Anjelina Circle North where police recovered approximately $2,000 worth of merchandise.



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