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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Image by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons.

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Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County court judge Alexander Bicket heard pleas on January 13 from Greg Priore, 63, of Oakland, who worked as the sole archivist and manager of the library’s rare book room, and John Schulman, 56, of Squirrel Hill, who owns Caliban Book Shop in the city.

The court heard that between the late 1990s and 2016, Priore stole items while working at the library and Schulman then sold them on through auctions and the trade in the US and Europe.

Priore pleaded guilty to theft and receiving stolen property and Schulman pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, theft by deception and forgery.

Awaiting sentencing

All the other counts against both men were withdrawn by the prosecution. The men will be sentenced on April 17.

Missing rare books, folios, maps and plates were noticed to be missing from the library following an audit by Pall Mall Art Advisors in April 2017 - the first since 1991.

More than 300 rare books were missing, with others (including a copy of Edward Curtis’ monumental work The North American Indian) much diminished by the removal of plates.