By Sabri Ben-Achour
Prosecutors in Prince George's County, Maryland say they have charged 12 people with stealing a total of $87,000 worth of books from public libraries. Each of the 12 allegedly checked out about 75 books, the maximum allowed, and then never returned them.
Prosecutors say they sold them at pawnshops and online. Most of the books were textbooks or reference books that cost as much as $250 each. Glenn Ivey is State's Attorney for Prince George's County.
"This is a time people are going to the library to get books frequently because they can't afford to pay for them, and now those books are being taken off the shelves. It's really a violation of the public trust and abuse of public funds for personal gain," Ivey says.
The group of 12 is also suspected of stealing books from Harford Community College and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, which reported $56,000 worth of books disappeared. The defendants face up to 15 years in prison.