Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Shhh! Librarian Allegedly Embezzles a Ton of Money in Overdue Book Fines

Theresa Karm

A woman hired by an Ohio library to keep track of fees and fines was allegedly tracking them into her own pocket. Police say Theresa Karm, 54, has stolen almost $350,000 in overdue book fines since she started working at the Cuyahoga Falls library in 2007. She was fired three months ago but theft charges weren’t filed until this week.

According to the Cuyahoga Falls library website, an overdue book will cost you 5 cents per day and overdue DVDs and other multimedia cost a whopping 50 cents per day. If your book or movie is overdue by two weeks or more, you’re referred to the library’s Materials Recovery Service, at which point you’ll be billed for the item. You can still turn it in, along with a fine of (get ready to gasp) up to $5. If you’re really delinquent and ignore the bill, then you’re turned over to another recovery service and billed an additional ten bucks.

I think the lesson we can all walk away with from this story — besides the boring old “stealing is wrong” —is that for Karm to have allegedly amassed over 350 grand in petty fines, people in Cuyahoga Falls must really suck at returning library books.

Karm is due in court Friday.

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