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Craigslist Vendor Accused of Stealing $50,000 from Colorado Libraries

Aug-04-07

Who hasnít been late in returning an occasional library book? But Librarians from Denver, Aurora, Arapahoe County and Douglas County say Craigslist merchant Thomas Pilaar turned his tardiness into a thriving online business.

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Pilaar, 33, obtained seven library cards from the Denver Public Library by using different names according to  CBS4 investigator Brian Maass. The library says Pilaar then checked out as many as 300 items on each card, selling many of them via popular Web site Craigslist.com.  Craigslist delivers

A woman who recently bought books from Pilaar through Craigslist noticed the library identification stamps and alerted authorities who soon learned the book bandit had been busy throughout the areaís public library system.

M. Celeste Jackson of the Denver Public Library estimated the loses to that cityís library could run as high as $35,000.

"It appears his intent was to sell 2,100 (items) from the Denver Library collection," Jackson told reporters.

James Larue, Douglas County's head librarian, said Pilaar checked out more than 300 items from two Douglas County libraries. He estimates losses to the library system stand at $11,000, mostly from DVDs and pricey coffee table books.

Arapahoe County library administrators told CBS4 that Pilaar obtained three different library cards and checked out between 250 and 300 items.

Authorities arrested Pilaar within the last week on an unrelated parole violation. He is being held without bond at the Denver County Jail. The Denver District Attorney's Office is investigating the library thefts and is considering filing criminal charges against Pilaar.

Craigslist users self-publish more than 20 million new classified ads each month where they are seen by about 25 million potential buyers viewing 8 billion pages per month.

Prosecutors are asking anyone who may have inadvertently bought library books via the Internet, or anyone who knows where these books might be, to contact the Denver D.A.'s office.

Source: CBS4-Denver

Contact Information

Denver District Attorneys Office

  • For economic crimes and to report fraud, 720-913-9179

  • Main email address is info@denverda.org

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