Sticky Fingered Bibliophiles Caught
An original script - still missing!
By Bruce McKinney
Run a Google search for Victorville and "rare books" and you are going to be drilling more dry holes than a New Jersey wildcatter. The one match that looks real is a wrong number. Oh well. Perhaps this was the perfect place to stash stolen scripts, manuscripts and ephemera where the only things "rare" are the steaks at Jim-Bobs and people who vote Democratic.
To quote the Victorville Daily Press on February 19th: "after months of investigation, local authorities Wednesday nabbed the final suspect in a ring of burglaries that rocked the Los Angeles area for more than a year and a half." Thus ended a months long investigation lacking only Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans singing "Happy Trails to You."
One of the victims, Mr. X, lost more than a million dollars of material to this gang of sticky fingered manuscript and ephemera lovers. Contacted at home Mr. X confirmed that the police have informed him of a substantial recovery. The collector and his collectables are expected to soon be reunited. It is however already apparent that at least one of the bibliophilic burglars had a discerning eye because some of the best material reported stolen has not been located and is presumed to have been sold. Because no reputable book dealer would knowingly handle stolen merchandise the police have been concentrating their attention on less informed book dealers.
As best can be determined the gang of four bibliophiles spent the past year and a half making unscheduled withdrawals from private homes in the greater LA area. Apparently, the gang, four collectors in total, divided the movie memorabilia into piles and each participant then took their portions to begin personal collections. Hence, as collectors hate to sell, much of the material was later recovered. It has not yet been confirmed that one of the slick fingered bibliophiles described dealers to whom they tried to sell their material as "a bunch of thieves."
The Victorville Gazette went on to say "Thanks to detectives from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the victim now has almost all of his stolen property back," a contention the victim assiduously denies. Mr. X, quoting Silas Marner, said "I've been robbed" and Butterfly Knits "this is only part of the loot." He did say "I'll tell you this --there are not enough superlatives in the world to describe the guys in Victorville and the job they've done." "In my opinion, these are the real old-time western lawmen. Not just authorities, but lawmen."
Sticky Fingered Bibliophiles Caught
Found in the wrong neighborhood.
Among the items reported missing and still missing are:
An Oscar awarded for My Fair Lady;
John Houston's typed script of The Maltese Falcon;
A 1683 folio of the Bard of Avon, Mr. W. Shakespear;
Numerous original plays early Shakespear folios;
A Masonic board with brass tags from the original "Sam's piano" from Casablanca;
Two original scripts from Gone with the Wind.
The drama's denouement began several months ago when a stolen item was identified at a pawn shop. Subsequently, original scripts for "Casablanca," "Gone with the Wind" and "My Fair Lady" were found in a working class home in Adelanto. For Eliza Doolittle, who has spent decades trying to escape poverty in My Fair Lady, it seems particularly unfair to have ended up back in a blue collar environment. Reggit Stephens, 37, and Joseph Kelley, 43, were arrested in connection with the stolen property. The police seem to be considering Mr. Stephens for a supporting role and Kelley for a star turn.
On January 19th another warrant was served in Los Angeles, additional material located and more recently one Timothy Galloway apprehended. To all this Mr. X expressed satisfaction for the job well done and admiration for law enforcement's commitment. "I was so impressed because they didn't give up."
"I'm getting some of my material back so this story has a happy ending."