Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tome Raider Tops Charts With "Oops!... I Did It Again"

The Tome Raider in drag disguise using the nom de theft, "Britney Spears."

William Jacques, the notorious "Tome Raider" arrested on Christmas Day 2009 for stealing £40,000 worth of rare books from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, has been tried on twenty-one counts of theft and now faces four years in prison.


The bane of Cambridge University Library, London Library, the British Library, and the auction houses he defrauded, Jacques spent the years 2002-2006 in prison for book thefts totaling £1.1 million from those libraries. As soon as he was released, he started his thievery anew under the alias, "Mr. Santoro." He was previously known as "David Fletcher."

He eluded the police for two years before being nabbed.

"Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in," Jacques, the Godfather of book thieves, said in my imagination. "Rare books are merciless Circes. They sing, 'take me, take me,' and I must obey."

That falls into the book thief's standard grab bag of dubious explanations which include, "I dreamt my wife caught me posing in her rare Maidenform book," "There was a fire in my pants that only rare books could extinguish," and "Doctor's orders: Take two books, three times a day."

We covered his arrest in December 2009.

It is presumed that he will not be assigned to work in the prison library.

This is surely not the end of the story. When released in 2014 William Jacques will start up again. He is highly intelligent, arrogant, greedy and compulsive. Stealing rare books is in his blood. He gets a rush from it. The prison is going to need a revolving door for this biblioklept who, when all is said and done, is simply a common criminal who steals uncommon books.

Full story at The Guardian.

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