(TOKYO) — Japanese police have arrested a 61-year-old man accused of stealing more than 1,100 library books.
Officials say Mitsuka Suizu was initially arrested in July for taking a few books from the public library in Nagato, in western Japan. When police searched his home in the city of Ube, Suizu admitted to taking 1,170 books over a seven-year period, and stashing them at home, where he lived with his wife and two children.
The estimated value of the paperbacks? More than $25,000.
“He loves books,” Nagato police spokesman Yosuke Miyoshi told ABC News. “He didn’t just want to read them. He wanted them by his side.”
Miyoshi said the volumes, taken from 15 local libraries, ranged from encyclopedias to history books and books about insects.
Suizu was fully employed until his arrest in July, and visited various libraries during his work breaks.
“None of [the libraries] had security gates, so he was able to get by relatively unnoticed,” Miyoshi said.
Librarians have identified 896 of those books as their own so far. Miyoshi says police are still trying to track down where the remaining 274 books came from.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Euan McKirdy and Natalie L. Gallón, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, Holly Yan and Euan McKirdy, CNN Newswire