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VIDEO: Police seek Livonia Little Free Library book thief

Woman captured on camera taking books

LIVONIA, Mich. – Take a book, leave a book -- that's what small free libraries are about. They bring a sense of community and sharing.

The Livonia Little Free Library has sat in front of Nicole Mehelich's home on Levan Road for four years. The idea is that a resident can take a book to read for free as long as they return it, but someone has stolen all the books on several occasions.

"The first time it happened, my husband was driving home and turning the corner as this lady got into her car and drove away," Mehelich said. 

Her husband noticed their free library was empty. This would continue a few times for just over a year and they would see the same vehicle leaving each time.

"I would say most people come and take a book or two a person," Mehelich said. "A lot of our regular patrons would drop off three and take one, so it's not usual for people to take all like that."

The next time they saw the woman coming to get free books from their little library, the husband went outside and confronted her. The encounter was caught on their surveillance camera.

"She gave him a lot of excuses," Mehelich said. "Like the content was inappropriate -- which it wasn't -- and she said that those donations should be going to public libraries."

Mehelich's husband took a photo of the woman's license plate and turn the information over to the police. Until the woman is caught, they now have instituted a two-book limit.

"Stop. You know you can go pick up books for 25 cents at a garage sale," Mehelich said. "These are community resources and they're beloved in Livonia.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Livonia Police Department at 734-466-2470.