At Yale, A Theft Of Historic Proportions
November 30, 2001 8:32 PM   Subscribe

At Yale, A Theft Of Historic Proportions "A college student is accused of abusing his position at Yale University's rare books library to steal more than $1.5 million in one-of-a-kind historic signatures and other items — then selling them on the Internet."
posted by dayvin (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Obviously they aren't teaching their students very well if the kid was dumb enough to get caught. That does it. I'm never sending my children to Yale.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:59 PM on November 30, 2001

It took them how long to figure this out?
posted by Katy Action at 9:13 PM on November 30, 2001

What I never get in a case like this is why the suspect had any items in his home/dorm to incriminate him. Why steal anything until you've got a seller lined up- and once you've got the seller lined up, you shouldn't have to bring it home to get it sent to them. And has this twit never heard of off-shore accounts in Cayman Island banks?

Sheesh... I'll give him an A+ for enterpreneurial inventiveness, but a lousy F- for execution. Hm- maybe that's what Dubya meant by "gentlemen's C's" at Yale...
posted by hincandenza at 10:11 PM on November 30, 2001

One of those rare books wasn't George Bush's "My First Reader" he used his freshman year was it?
posted by MAYORBOB at 10:20 PM on November 30, 2001

"I think internal stealing occurs in any workplace - whether you steal pens or $1.5 million in manuscripts"

of course, i haven't had that much luck selling my stolen office supplies on eBay.
posted by dzigavertov at 2:01 AM on December 2, 2001

hincandenza: Well, it's harder to get a seller lined up when you have zero means of proving that you actually have the item in question - doubly so if you're dealing with "real world" dealers instead of eBay folks. And that's to say nothing of item availability: between your work schedule, which works are being requested, where your fellow employees happen to be, etc., opportunities to acquire a specific item X might be few and far between.

In an ideal world, sure, your scheme as outlined would work... but logistical thorniness probably makes catch-as-catch-can a more functional sequence of events.
posted by youhas at 3:41 AM on December 2, 2001

On rare items, such as books, you don't ever first line up a seller. Not the way the trade works. There is a guy in the middle who fences the stuff and gets his cut.
posted by Postroad at 6:55 AM on December 2, 2001

Nothing new. There has been a market for stolen manuscripts ever since someone valued one and they are stolen by people of all degrees of competance and skill. When I was in college I worked in this collection, and one of my co-workers was busted for multiple thefts from the collection. He lived in terrible (student grade) poverty, and stole/kept them purely to surround himself with their beauty. As I recall, he was simply expelled and sent on his way to do it elsewhere, a solution easy for the college and lacking, I felt, responsibility to the larger art community.

To my mind, the distinctions between a conservator and a covetor and a thief and a collector are slim indeed. Anyone (at any level) who chooses to work with rare items should be suspect, to a certain low grade degree. Especially in the student setting, either nurturing or draconian enforcement (depending on your guiding philosophy) should always be practiced to help keep the dividing line between keeping for the public and keeping for the private clear. Not to mention, of course, the profit motive and the ever-present cash hunger of student life.

Although immaturely-phrased, the quote about stealing from the workplace is quite apt: all jobs carry in them the capacity for abuse. The matter of degree and type is what, of course, stabs at us in some instances and not the others.
posted by salt at 11:15 AM on December 2, 2001

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