Poor Joseph Heath. According to him, he was just taking the kind suggestion of a colleague—a librarian at Becker College, where he was employed as a janitor–to “take whatever you wanted” when he smuggled dozens of rare books, valued at over $115,000, from the library and sold them to book dealers.
The police were of another opinion, charging Heath with receiving stolen property valued at more than $250 and two counts of larceny of property valued at more than $250. He was arrested in November, and received his judgment this week—reparation of $3000 and three years of probation, which could be suspended upon future review.
Heath had offered the missing books, which included an original first edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and another book signed by Abraham Lincoln, to private collectors and dealers, and had begun posting on Craigslist in an effort to move more.
The theft was discovered when Heath attempted to sell the books to the Leicester Historical Society. One of the members of the board at the society recognized the books from the May Collection, named after abolitionist Rev. Samuel May whose house is now part of the Becker College campus. When she reached out to Becker …read more

Via: Melville House Books