Houston Public Libraries targeted by thieves, caused nearly $30,000 in damages

Houston Public Libraries are the latest to be victimized by criminals in the city. Throughout the last couple of months, thieves have been targeting several Houston Public Library locations during off hours to steal cash.

"What’s happening with humanity," asked Josetta Hawthorne, a library visitor. "People not carrying about nice places that serve the public."

Photos show smashed-in doors, busted windows, and pulverized printers at a few library locations.

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"Whomever the perpetrators are, they’re just simply out for themselves seeing what they can get," said Stewart Jones, another library visitor. "They don’t care about no one else."

A spokesperson from Houston Public Libraries provided a written statement about the burglaries.

"Unfortunately, criminals have targeted some of our locations, and our highest priority is the safety of Houston Public Library staff and customers," said a Houston Public Library spokesperson. "The library break-ins have occurred exclusively after hours, and no one has been threatened or injured. However, the break-in damages to library-owned equipment is over $20,000, and the repairs to our facilities are estimated at $8,000—all of which is at the expense of our taxpayers."

"That’s our tax money that’s getting stolen," said Justin Marconi, a library guest. "You kind of figure these buildings would be better secured. That’s not good."

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A library spokesperson says the city has increased security measures at their locations. So far, they’ve installed new surveillance cameras, reinforced entries, and enhanced lighting. In addition, the Houston Public Library has moved to cashless. They say they’re exploring cashless printer options for library customers as well.

"We’re already getting taxed to hell," said Marconi. "It’s absolutely frustrating. It’s not right."

The Houston Police Department confirms they’re investigating the recent library burglaries. Anyone with information relating to the vandal(s) is urged to contact HPD.