Brothers arrested in Reading rare book theft

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Two brothers have been arrested in the theft of 11 books from a rare and valuable collection. (WPVI)

Two brothers have been arrested in the theft of 11 books from a rare and valuable collection in the Berks County library system.

The suspects are 39-year-old Robert Bierman and 35-year-old Erick Bierman.

Police say the limited-edition books were snatched from the Reading Public Library on Wednesday afternoon.

Surveillance video from the library shows two men walking inside. One goes to the shelves, places the books in a bag while the other acts as a lookout.

Then both men walk out.

Library officials say the pair knew exactly what they were doing.

"They knew they where and how far the reach of our security cameras went. They went right to this section, they took the best 11 out of 22 books in the collection," said Reading Public Library Director Frank Kasprowicz.

That collection is part of a limited edition series of "The Passing Scenes" authored by George Meiser. He says much of the value from his 22 volume series is wrapped up in the treasure trove of rare, historic photos from across Berks County.

"I don't put anything in a book that can be found elsewhere. What I look for is the unusual material, those things that have eluded everybody else," Meiser said.

Investigators say the books stolen from the library have not yet surfaced online... but copies of the same books are being sold for a high price on eBay.

"Some of them go for $70, some one hundred dollars, some even higher - for hundreds of dollars," said Kasprowicz.

Police say one of the brothers was on parole, the other on probation for previous crimes.
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