No one had ever tried a caper like this before. The goods were kept in a secure room under constant scrutiny, deep inside a crowded building with guards at the exits. The team picked for the job included two old hands known only as Paul and Swede, but all depended on a fresh face, a kid from North Carolina. In the Depression, some fellows were willing to try anything - even a heist in the rare book room of the New York Public Library. In Thieves of Book Row, Travis McDade tells the gripping tale of the worst book-theft ring in American history, and the intrepid detective who brought it down.
Like many aspiring writers, David Breithaupt had money problems. But what he also had was unsupervised access to one of the finest special collections libraries in the country. In October 1990, Kenyon College hired David Breithaupt as its library's part-time evening supervisor. In April 2000 he was fired after a Georgia librarian discovered him selling a letter by Flannery O'Connor on eBay, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Breithaupt had been browsing the collection, taking from it whatever rare books, manuscripts, and documents caught his eye.