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With police blotters brimming over with stolen TV sets and CD players, a Minnesotan has been charged with a crime almost quaint: stealing up to 30,000 books from local libraries since 1984.

After tailing the man from a South St. Paul library, police discovered the vast literary trove in his apartment. "They run the whole gamut - Westerns, mysteries, classics, science fiction, everything," said one officer.According to reports, police are at a loss as to the suspect's motive. Lands. Are we so deep into the electronic age that the motive isn't obvious? This guy loved to read.

Personally, we hope authorities don't throw the book at the sticky-fingered bibliophile. With so many libraries nowadays stocking their shelves with videocassettes, maybe the better answer is to let him open a branch.