Not all heists are glamourous, action-packed affairs resulting in velvet bags full of diamonds, priceless paintings sold to shady collectors, or men in ski masks rappelling down the side of a skyscraper. Sometimes they're quiet operations that last for years and involve printer toner, videogames, and at least one robotic vacuum cleaner.
Case in point: An employee of the Austin Public Library has been indicted by a grand jury for stealing printer toner from the library and selling it online for profit. A huge profit. Between 2007 and 2019, the employee, Randall Whited, who was in charge of purchasing supplies for the library, allegedly ordered $1.5 million worth of printer toner for the library, most of which he stored in his garage so he could sell it online.
"Based on our analysis of purchases and actual APL toner needs, it appears Whited stole more than $1.3 million worth of toner," the 72-page report released by Austin city auditors says.
The auditors say the library's expected toner purchases for that 12-year span should have only been about $150,000.
The auditors were tipped off to the long-term printer toner heist in March of 2019, at which point they began reviewing receipts, purchasing documents, and even video footage, which appears to show Whited moving boxes of toner from the library into his personal vehicle. Whited was indicted in September and and has a hearing this month on theft charges.
The report also claims that Whited used 10 library credit cards to make other purchases for his personal use, spending around $18,000 to buy VR headsets and gear, videogames, drones, and robotic vacuum cleaners—the last of which would probably be good to have around when your house is filled with printer toner. That stuff gets everywhere.