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[whitespace] Library thief used fake ID to check out $5,000 in CDs

Cupertino--In her 20-plus years at the Cupertino Library, head librarian Mary-Ann Wallace hadn't seen anything like it.

During the last week of October, someone using phony identification came in and signed up for a new library card. The patron then checked out a bunch of CDs. The same individual apparently returned a couple days later check out a few more--and kept coming back. By Nov. 1, he had borrowed 104 music discs.

That's on top of the 125 CDs that the same person allegedly checked out using a different library card from the Saratoga Library over a period of about two weeks in September.

After the overdue notices mailed to the patron came back as undeliverable, Santa Clara County Library officials on Dec. 1 called the Sheriff's Department. (Both libraries are part of the county library system.)

Deputies are still investigating the case. Investigators had a suspect, but when they checked out the San Jose address that was used to obtain one of the library cards, they found that it was a false name. The 229 CDs taken by the suspect are valued at about $5,300.

In the meantime, Wallace says, the libraries have recovered a few of the missing CDs, but not many. Also, because of the theft, library officials are re-evaluating their checkout policies and deciding how to put limits on checkouts so that the same thing doesn't happen again.

"Most people are very honest," Wallace says, "And we depend on people to follow the rules. But every once in a while, someone comes along and tries to get away with something."
Jeff Kearns

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Web extra to the December 23-29, 1999 issue of Metro.

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