The Book Thief
In the spring of 1994, Daniel Spiegelman shinnied up an abandoned book lift in Columbia University's Butler Library to get to the rare books floor where he then proceeded to dismantle a wall, steal books, reassemble the wall, and sneak back down the shaft. Over a three-month period he did this more than a dozen times. He eventually escaped with the loot - roughly $1.8 million in books, letters and manuscripts - to Europe to sell to collectors. When he was caught in the Netherlands, he tried to avoid extradition to the U.S. by telling the Dutch authorities that he was a financier of the Oklahoma City bombing knowing they wouldn't extradite someone who was facing the death penalty. Eventually the FBI, through some wrangling, got him back to New York, where he finally stood trial for his crimes. In vivid detail, including a retelling of the crimes, dialogue from the court transcripts, and explanations of the legal consequences and intricacies, McDade recounts all the sordid elements of this true crime caper.