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PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — A library archivist and an antique bookseller are charged with stealing millions of dollars’ worth of rare books, illustrations, maps and photographs from a Pittsburgh library over a 20-year period.
Authorities Friday charged former Carnegie Library rare books manager Gregory Priore and bookstore owner John Schulman with theft, conspiracy and other counts in the disappearance of hundreds of items. Detectives put the estimated value of the materials stolen or damaged at $8 million.
“I think stolen is a little premature. I think we need to review the materials and see what is and what is not present,” Schulman’s attorney Albert Ververka said. “But certainly, he deals in rare books. He’s going to have a lot of rare books in his collection.”
Prosecutors say Priore would sometimes use an X-Acto knife to cut maps and bookplates out of some books.
They allege Priore walked out of the library with the items and took them to the bookstore a block away. They say the bookseller paid Priore up front and then pocketed the cash from items he could unload.
Library spokeswoman Suzanne Thinnes released the following statement:
“We are grateful the investigation into the Oliver Room theft has resulted in arrests, however we are deeply disappointed that at the center of this case are two people who had close, long standing relationships with the Library. We look forward to the appropriate individuals being held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We will continue to cooperate with the DA’s office and deeply appreciate their efforts to recover the stolen materials. The District Attorney will release information as appropriate as the case progresses through legal proceedings. We would like to thank our community for their support throughout this lengthy and complex investigation. We have been asked not to comment further until legal proceedings are complete.”
An audit last year uncovered items missing.
“John is taking it very seriously. He’s disappointed that this has come to this, but he’s going to address it in due course,” Schulman’s attorney Albert Ververka said. “This has been an ongoing investigation. The Allegheny County DA’s office has served search warrants and we’ve been in contact with them throughout this process.”
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