W&L Law Students Suffer Massive Textbook Theft

W&L Law Students Suffer Massive Textbook Theft

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By Christian von Hassell In the early morning hours of October 4th, an unidentified individual, or possibly a group, enacted a massive textbook theft at the Law School Library. Students have reported a total of 98 textbooks that went missing after the incident. Furthermore, the perpetrators also took up to 175 textbooks from the library’s reserve.

Many of these textbooks can sell for several hundred dollars in the used book market, making the heist possibly worth tens of thousands of dollars. According to law students, the thieves only stole the more expensive books, leaving behind ones that hold less value among resellers. Students told The Spectator that the thieves did not touch any tax law textbooks, as they are updated every year as protocol changes, and therefore, aren’t particularly valuable used.

Such choosiness combined with the sheer magnitude of the heist suggests that the crime was premeditated and that multiple people were involved.  Currently, Public Safety does not suspect W&L students in the case, as Head Public Safety Officer Ethan Kipnes believes that the size of the operation indicates that outside actors are responsible. He also notes that similar instances have occurred at other colleges and libraries along the east coast.

Out of convenience, many law students leave their heavy textbooks in the library carrels, trusting in the Honor System to protect them. Issues of course arise when people from outside the community try to take advantage of the immense confidence students have in the Honor System. Kipnes stated that the University is taking a number of steps to review the situation, including a full comprehensive assessment of the Law School’s security profile. He also noted that the school is heavily weighing whether to implement security cameras in multiple areas of campus, including the Law School.

Law students have at least found accommodation in the professors. Some – like Professor Russell Miller – have been successfully negotiating with textbook publishers to get students free textbook replacements.  Nonetheless,  the incident has certainly bruised students’ willingness to leave books behind, with many carrels now empty.

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