FSU Library Security Chief Charged with Grand Theft for Stealing Rare Comics
Police said the security chief had been selling the stolen property to private buyers and comic book stores for two years.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The head of security at Florida State University’s Strozier Library was arrested last week for allegedly stealing $500,000 worth of rare artifacts from a comic book collection.
Todd Peak, 38, who was employed by the university for eight years, has been charged with grand theft over $100,000, dealing with stolen property, and sale of stolen property through the Internet, reports FSU News.
Library employees reported the stolen items four months prior to Peak’s arrest. The comic books were part of the Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection which consists of comics and serials on superheroes, science fiction, fantasy and horror. Publications include Marvel Comics and DC Comics.
Police said Peak had been selling the stolen property to private buyers and comic book stores for two years. In total, 4,996 items were missing from the collection. Police have recovered 2,843 of the missing items so far.
Police conducted a search of Peak’s Google search history through a subpoena and discovered that between April 2020 and Jan. 2021, Peak made 448 searches for information about the stolen comic books, often looking for information about their value.
According to a police report, suspicions rose that Peak was selling stolen comics when buyers noticed he had rare comics that were listed as missing from FSU’s Special Collections & Archives.
Investigators spoke with several people who bought comics from Peak. One of the buyers, the owner of a comic book store, told investigators that it was “too great of a coincidence” that Peak worked at the library where the comic books were stolen.
Katie McCormick, the associate dean of libraries for special collections, told investigators that shortly after the theft, Peak asked her to review the inventory sheet for the collection and that he offered to help — something not typically associated with his job.
According to a report released following initial documentation of the crime, FSU Libraries is said to have conducted “an additional internal audit (based on professional practices for Special Collections and Archives) of security protocols and practices to improve the integrity of collections areas and help protect against future theft.”
The collection is housed in the sub-basement of the library and is kept behind a chain-link fence protected by a padlock, according to USA Today. Peak had one of four keys for the lock.
Anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of any of the stolen items is asked to contact FSUPD at (850) 644-1234.
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