Ex-librarian and bookseller plead guilty to stealing rare texts worth $8M from Pennsylvania library

404-year-old Geneva Bible was one of more than 300 artifacts stolen since 90s

PENNSYLVANIA – A former librarian and a bookseller pleaded guilty Jan. 13 in the $8 million theft of hundreds of rare items from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library since the 1990s.

Gregory Priore, 63, former manager of the rare books room, pleaded guilty to theft and receiving stolen property. John Schulman, 56, the owner of Caliban Book Shop, pleaded guilty to theft by deception, receiving stolen property and forgery.

Gregory Priore, left, John Schulman, right. (Allegheny County photos)

Allegheny County prosecutors said some charges were withdrawn in exchange for the pleas. The deals don’t contain an agreement on sentencing. Judge Alex Bicket reserved sentencing until April 17, 2020.

The court heard that Priore stole prints, maps, and rare books and gave them to Schulman to resell.

This 404-year-old Geneva Bible was one of more than 300 artifacts stolen from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library since the 1990s. (F.B.I. photo)

According to police, a Geneva Bible Bible published in 1615, was returned to the library after it was traced to the American Pilgrim Museum in the Netherlands.

In this photo Archivist, Gregory M. Priore is in the William R. Oliver Special Collections Room in the Carnegie Institute and Library. (Carnegie Institute and Library photo)
Carnegie Institute and Library, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Detroit Publishing Co. photo)

Carnegie Institute and Library staff did a routine insurance appraisal in April 2017 and discovered 320 missing items including books, photograph albums, manuscripts, atlases, maps and plate books.

Independent art appraisal firm, Pall Mall Art Advisors, was brought in to help with the investigation. They appraised the 336 affected items at $8.1 million in 2017.

A formal investigation was launched in 2018.

After the two pleaded guilty, Carnegie Institute and Library posted a statement on their website Jan. 13.

“The shock, the anger and the hurt we feel that individuals who were close to us, who were trusted by us, who were considered friends and colleagues to many of us at the Library, would abuse the faith we had in them for personal gain will be with us for a very long time.

“This was a very serious crime committed over a long period of time by educated and well-known members of the community. We are hopeful that the sentences given to these two individuals will adequately reflect the significant damage done not only to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, but to the literary community near and far. We are thankful to the District Attorney’s Office and the investigators for the handling of this matter and for their tireless work to attempt to recover the stolen items.”

-Alberta Press Staff


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