Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Serial Book Thief Jailed...Again.

Move over, Markus Zusak, there's a new Book Thief in the house.

The big house, that is.

According to The Telegraph UK, Cambridge University alum William Jacques has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for stealing over £1 million in antique books from a London Library:

Cambridge University graduate William Jacques, who stole £1 million of rare books in the late 1990s, drew up a "thief's shopping list" as he continued his life of crime.

He used a false name to sign in to the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library in London before stuffing valuable books under his tweed jacket and fleeing, Southwark Crown Court in London was told.

Recorder Michael Holland QC told Jacques: "You have absolutely no intention of turning away from what seems to you to be an extremely lucrative and easy crime."

Such crimes "undermine and destroy parts of the cultural heritage that's contained within these libraries", the judge said.

The judge, who said Jacques had no mitigation, told him: "You are a Cambridge graduate and should know better, I suppose."

He went on: "This was a systematic and carefully-planned theft and you had prepared what, in my view, was a target list, from your research at that library, of books that were worth stealing.

"This was a theft in progress and the list referred to books worth tens of thousands of pounds more.

"Your entire motivation was commercial and you intended to make whatever money you could from the theft of these books despite their cultural value.

"The effect of your criminality was to undermine and destroy parts of the cultural heritage that's contained within these libraries and make it more difficult for those who have a legitimate interest in these books to gain access to them because libraries have to take inconvenient and expensive steps to stop thefts of this kind."

Jacques was "relying on the reluctance of library staff to challenge people" when they were used to dealing with members of the public whom they could trust, the judge said.

Jacques, 41, previously plundered more than £1 million of historic books from the UK's leading libraries in the biggest haul of its kind in British legal history.

The serial book thief, who escaped with some 500 extremely rare antiquarian books, hid behind a "shabby cloak of respectability" as he went on to sell them at auction houses in the late 1990s, judge Derek Inman said in May 2002.

Motivated by arrogance, greed and an obsession with money, the loner raided the nation's libraries, devastating their collections and damaging valuable works in an attempt to disguise their origins.

Even a four-year jail sentence, imposed by Judge Inman at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court for 21 counts of theft, could not stop him.

In the latest case, the jury heard that Jacques would regularly visit the Lindley Library in Vincent Square, central London, which holds books, journals, pictures and art on practical gardening, garden history, plants and design dating back to 1514.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Huh. Talk about strange addictions. I gotta say that judge was pretty kick-ass.

1 comment:

  1. This doesn't sound like any sort of addiction to me. Rather, it sounds like a very smart, morally bankrupt guy who saw a way to make a lot of easy money.