I heard something that sounded like paper being torn. I looked to my right and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted one of our regulars tearing a page from a reference book. He immediately rushed to the opposite side of the table so that his next actions were not in full view of the reference desk.
I walked over to the patron and said, "Tearing pages out of our books is not allowed."
The patron gave me a very odd look, because the page he had torn was blank.
I then said, "Even if the page is blank, you are not to remove it from a book!"
The patron said, "Oh, you're not."
I said, "NO" and walked back to the reference desk. Lucky for me and not so lucky for the patron. Two floor supervisors just so happened to be at the desk. I told them of the incident. They decided that the rules would be followed and both supervisors would speak to the patron with a security guard present.
Homey stuck to his story and said, "The page is blank, what's the problem?"
They explained to the patron that he had actually destroyed library property.
The security guard took the patron away. A formal incident report was filed and the patron has been banned from all branch libraries in our system for 90 days.