Manchester Library reeling from theft of new television

Manchester Library Branch Manager Dee D’Haem shows how thieves broke into her library and stole a 58-inch plasma TV. - Justine Frederiksen/Staff Photo
Manchester Library Branch Manager Dee D’Haem shows how thieves broke into her library and stole a 58-inch plasma TV.
— image credit: Justine Frederiksen/Staff Photo

A large-screen television worth nearly $2,000 was stolen from the Manchester Library last week, Branch Manager Dee D’Haem said Monday.

D’Haem said the library had the television for barely a month when a staff member noticed it missing Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

“She said, ‘Where’s the TV?,’ and I said, ‘It’s in the men’s bathroom,’” D’Haem recalled, referring to the library’s old television, which is being stored in the men’s restroom. However, she soon realized the staff member meant the $1,800 television recently bought by the Friends of the Manchester Library, the non-profit group that owns and maintains the library’s building.

D’Haem said the suspects ripped the 58-inch Samsung Plasma TV off the wall of the library’s meeting room, after gaining entry through the building’s fire exit door.

There is no handle on the outside of the door, but D’Haem said while they were inside the building, the suspects folded up a small piece of cardboard and shoved it in the door jamb to keep the door from locking.

“We saw some kids the day before who were walking back and forth (near the door) and had even asked if they could go outside there and smoke,” she said, adding that at least one of the young adults acting strangely was a patron, because he had a library card.

D’Haem said the Friends bought the television not just for the library, but for the surrounding community, and several groups had already used it or planned to.

“It just breaks your heart,” D’Haem said of the theft. “(The Friends) are a great group of people that worked so hard to put up something state-of-the-art for us, and for someone to take it, it is very upsetting.”

Manchester resident Ron Rada, who said he has been a member of the Friends for nine years, said the group planned to replace the set.

“There are a lot of events planned, and I think the friends are going to go right out and buy another one,” Rada said, adding that the theft “makes me mad. This is ripping off the community.”

If the set is replaced, and she hopes it is, D’Haem said new security measures will be in place, which could perhaps include cameras and an alarm on the exit door. She said during closing, staff members check the fire exit door before leaving, but the cardboard propping it open was not noticed.

D’Haem said this was the first time the library had been burglarized in her seven years as branch manager, and she also was disheartened by the theft.

“We feel personally invaded — that the moral code we live by has been broken,” she said, explaining that she felt disappointed, but not necessarily discouraged. “We will get over this and move past it. Ninety-nine percent of our patrons, we just love, and they love this library.”

D’Haem said anyone wishing to donate money towards purchasing another television can call the library at 871-3921.

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