Monday, May 27, 2013

Catching a thief

Friday afternoon as I returned from the staff area, the Teen Librarian approached me saying she thought the guy that I had been making leave the library everyday was in the DVD area (he gave up books and began stealing DVDs.) I smelled the guy before I reached him (he reeked of alcohol.) I got next to the guy and said, “I need you to sit over there. I had indicated the large round table in the adult area." It was open and could be seen from different angles in the library. The guy asked, "So you gon call the police on me?" I told him, "No, but I do need to speak to you." I asked him why he thought taking materials from our branch was a good idea. He told me that he gave away what he took. I then asked, “How do you give away library material?" He replied, “I take the barcode and the label off first. I DON'T SELL THE STUFF! He then asked me," Why are you worried about what I take? It belongs to the white man." I told him, "I manage this branch and you taking items from here makes the branch look bad." He said, "I can understand that." I then asked, “Do you even have a library card? (We didn't know his name and in order to process the paper work for suspension, I needed his name.) He said, “No, can I get one? I asked him if he would use the card if he had it, and he said yes. I then asked if he had valid picture identification. To my surprise, he got his wallet and showed me his identification. It actually looked brand new. The guy then told me that I was in his way because I kept standing there talking to him. He said, "You know I'm going get busy doing what I do when you leave?" I replied, "Yes, I do. That's why I'm not moving." I asked if he would fill out a library card application. He said that he would, if I helped him while he completed it. This is the point where the conversation turned. He said, "That's some nice polish you have on your toes." I thanked him and kept trying to get him to complete the application. He then asked, “Can I touch your toes?" I laughed, and said no. He asked, "Well, can I touch just one of them?" I laughed again and told him no, while moving out of his reach. Finally, he completed the application. I took him to the circulation counter so that his library card application could be processed. While they were processing his application, I went to get the suspension paperwork so that I could complete it. By this time, the Teen Librarian had called security and the police. Once the guy received his library card, he told me very loudly. I told him that he could check out 1 item and return it in 3 weeks. He asked, "Can I check you out and return you in 3 weeks?" I told him no, and that he could check out one of the library materials and return it in 3 weeks. He went in search of a DVD, came back to the desk and checked it out. He then came to tell me that he couldn't find any western movies. He reflected on it and then said, “I probably stole all of them." I said you probably didn’t, and handed him the suspension paperwork. He read it. He then and asked, "Did I do that much?” The suspension is for 90 days. By this time, library security has arrived and one of the beat cops. The cop said, "I'm just checking in, to see how it's going in here and here you are. Are you causing them trouble?" The library security officer and I both said, “It's taken care of now.”

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