On Campus

The library book thief

Man convicted of stealing books from libraries in Alberta and U.S.

A 74-year-old man convicted of stealing thousands of rare books and documents from libraries across the West was sentenced Monday to 2½ years in prison.James Brubaker of Great Falls pleaded guilty in June to possessing stolen property and transporting it across state lines.

He stole thousands of books, maps and other papers from about 100 libraries in Alberta and the United States, then sold the documents online from his Great Falls home.

“We have 31 items missing from the University of Lethbridge library collection. That was a small number compared to some of the other thefts from other libraries,” said Donna Mahmoud, associate librarian at the university, on Tuesday.

“Those materials will in fact be returned to us when the case is over,” she added.

In Great Falls, District Judge Sam Haddon also ordered Brubaker to pay $23,152 in restitution – in amounts ranging from $5 to the Bozeman Public Library to $21,600 to Western Washington University’s library. The staff at Western Washington connected Brubaker to the stolen documents.

“I hope that I can die with my family,” Brubaker said at the sentencing hearing. “I hope I can try to put my life a little bit back together. But above all, I’m ready to take my punishment.”

Authorities say Brubaker had thousands of documents ready for sale when Great Falls police searched his home last winter.

-with a report from the Canadian Press

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