Being a bookworm doesn't always mean that you aren't adventurous. In fact in some cases, a love for good books can be very profitable. Such is the case for this gentleman!
William Simon Jacques
The thief William Simon Jacques operated in the genteel world of rare books, manuscripts, and maps. The former accountant and Cambridge graduate has a genius-level IQ. During his days as a bandit, he presented himself as a polite, well-educated man who liked spending his free time in libraries. This innocent, academic persona initially kept folks from realizing he was more interested in stealing books than reading them.
Jacques began pilfering books in the 1990s, around the time he was finishing his degree at Cambridge. The Cambridge Library noticed some of their books went missing, yet they didn’t report the thefts, ashamed at having failed as caretakers of the treasures. Then, in 1996, when two copies of Newton’s Principia Mathematica went missing along with Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (worth over $500,000 combined), the library decided it could no longer keep silent.
Still, it took a while for authorities to figure out Jacques was the culprit. He continued to frequent libraries throughout the UK, courteously chatting with desk clerks while squirreling precious books under his tweed coat.
Finally, a library worker caught him in the act, and from there, it didn’t take long for police to pin him as the serial antiquarian book thief. He was jailed in 2002 and spent four years behind bars. Then, upon his release, he picked up right where he left off. He concealed his identity with false names and disguises, winning librarians’ confidences with his intellect. By this point, he had made off with over $1 million in books, and his famous exploits caused the media to dub him the “Tome Raider.”
He managed to slip through the hands of police until July 2010, when he was caught and sentenced to another three and a half years in prison.
It's my understanding that this gentleman is still out and about, plying his usual trade. Industrious sort, isn't he?
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Watch for the rain, though.