On Dec. 12, 2016, Marisa Pacheco checked out several DVDs, video games and one book from the Algonquin Area Public Library, according to a complaint filed in McHenry County court.
The library, which doesn’t fine patrons for overdue books, unsuccessfully tried for a year to have the items returned before going to police, Algonquin Deputy Police Chief Ryan Markham said. The total value of the materials Pacheco is accused of stealing is valued at more than $2,000, Markham said.
“This is becoming a common problem, not necessarily in Algonquin, but I know a lot of towns have experienced this where people go in, check out video games, DVDs and things like that and then sell them,” Markham said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested Pacheco on theft charges Wednesday, but none of the checked-out items have been recovered, he said.
Pacheco originally was arrested on a $20,000 warrant, and she was released on her signature Friday morning.
McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Grant Tucker declined to comment on the case.
Pacheco is charged with two counts of felony theft and one count of misdemeanor theft.
She could face between two and five years in prison, if convicted.
Markham said there’s no reason for library patrons to fear they’ll be arrested if they forget to return a book.
“This is nothing like that,” he said. “This is where they’re intentionally going in and checking out a large amount of high-value video games and things like that and never bringing them back.”
In September 2014, the Algonquin Area Public Library District stopped charging cardholders overdue fines, according to the library’s website.
Materials still are assigned due dates, and if an item is two weeks overdue, the cardholder will be billed for the item and barred from checking out more material.
Once the item is returned, however, the bill is removed from the cardholder’s account. The policy doesn’t apply to lost or damaged items.
“The library followed regular procedures for recovering long-overdue materials without success. This was a very unusual situation, and it is unfortunate that we had to involve the police,” the library’s executive director, Sara Murray, said in an email Friday. “We appreciate that the vast majority of our patrons show respect for the library and responsibility with the items they borrow.”
Online court records show that Pacheco also has an open theft case in Lake County.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 6.