Noe Valley Voice September 1998

Library Broken Into -- Twice

By Erin O'Briant

Burglars snuck into the Sally Brunn ­ Noe Valley Library twice recently, taking a total of $55 in cash and leaving behind two screwdrivers and a broken window.

The first incident most likely happened the evening of Monday, June 29. (The Jersey Street branch is closed Sundays and Mondays.) Children's Librarian Carol Small discovered the theft when she opened the library at 9 a.m. on June 30 and found a broken office window.

According to Small, thieves entered through the ground-level window and took the library's cash box, which contained about $45. They left two screwdrivers behind, which they had apparently been using in an attempt to pry open the coin box of the copy machine. No money was taken from the machine.

Then on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 22, the library was again burglarized. This time, because the cash box was hidden, the robbers were only able to take about $10. They apparently tried again to get money from the copy machine but were unsuccessful.

Though the intruders entered through the same window as before, the panes were not broken. "We're very, very careful about locking that window," said Small, "so we're not sure how they got it open." The following morning a gardener spied the open window and put in a call to police.

In the days since the thefts, the staff at the Noe Valley Library have been lobbying for tighter security. Because the window in question is the only un-barred one on the ground level, "we're asking for a grate that can be opened from the inside," said Small.

The librarians have also asked the city to install locks that cannot be pried open from the outside. "We're a little nervous now," Small admitted.

Inspector Lou Bronfeld, the San Francisco police officer assigned to the case, promised to have a police officer from Mission Station drive by and check out the library during the evenings.

So far, no one has been arrested, but the librarians have at least one clue: "I don't think they're the literary type," said Head Librarian Roberta Greifer.

No books were stolen in either incident.