Folio Thief Gets 8 Years

The BBC reports today that Raymond Scott, who stole a first folio from Durham University in 1998, has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Said Judge Richard Lowden to Scott: "It would be regarded by many as priceless but to you it was definitely at a very big price and you went to very great lengths for that price. Your motivation was for financial gain. You wanted to fund an extremely ludicrous playboy lifestyle in order to impress a woman you met in Cuba." Two years were tacked onto the six-year sentence for taking the stolen property out of Britain.

In this strange case, it's not so much the theft that galls, book theft has been going on for centuries and is not likely to subside. It's the fact that Scott mutilated the volume. The BBC reported the damage last month. Scott had removed the goat binding and cut the cords on the spine in an effort to disguise the book's provenance. Some pages are also missing, including the frontispiece engraving of the Bard.