PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local libraries have been on alert after some sticky fingers have taken hundreds of books worth thousands of dollars.

A book thief with a fondness for bestsellers has been busy.

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“Within the last maybe six months or so, that a lot of our new books and bestseller books have gone missing,” said Jill McConnell, Acting Director of the Cooper Siegel Library in Fox Chapel.

The books are apparently being sold over the internet.

“Yes,” says McConnell, “Other libraries have discovered that their books were sold online.”

The Cooper Siegel Library is not the only target.

“And I did find that yes, there were several others within the county and surrounding counties that were having the same problems,” she said.

Library-goers like school teacher Emily Smith, were surprised and disheartened.

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“To sell books like that when someone should be going to the library to get book free – really that’s terrible,” Smith said.

Police in Fox Chapel, McCandless and in other municipalities have been investigating.

Library security systems are somehow being bypassed.

“They’re very familiar with the different security systems that libraries use, and therefore able to remove the security devices that are in the books themselves, or maybe use another exit that isn’t secure,” said McConnell.

Hundreds of books are now missing – and the loss at just this single library is significant.

“We’re missing over $6,000 worth of books,” McConnell said.

Police are pretty sure they know who the alleged book thief is, and they say he has an extensive criminal record.

They hope to make an arrest soon.

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