Farhad Hakimzadeh, an Iranian academic who has pleaded guilty to stealing pages from early printed books in the British Library and the Bodleian Library, is being sentenced today in London. The British Library has discovered about 150 books that were likely damaged by Hakimzadeh between 1998 and 2005, primarily works from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, and not all the missing pages have been recovered. The whole thing is quite shocking, not only because Hakimzadeh should have known better, but because he was committing the thefts in a very public place full of other readers, librarians, security staff, and CCTV, and he got away with it for so long. I’m not sure how much the security has changed at the BL since 2005, but from my near daily reading there over the last two months I can guarantee that to pull off this type of theft you would have to be extremely motivated and plan quite carefully (in addition to being a complete ass, of course.) Hopefully he’ll get slammed in the sentencing and in the civil case, as well.