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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 9, 200812:00 PM EST

Library employee recognized for helping catch a thief

by: Joe Wilhelm Jr.

by Joe Wilhelm Jr.

Staff Writer

Communication was the key to justice.

“One good, observant employee can see something that may be overlooked,” said Mike Sigler, security supervisor for the Jacksonville Public Library. “(Bradley Jaskula) stepped up when most people would probably have let it go.”

Jaskula didn’t let it go and the information he gathered led to the arrest of a library patron who stole over $7,000 worth of materials from the Main Library this spring. His efforts were recognized by the City of Jacksonville when Jaskula was given a “Goal Star” award at the quarterly “Rewards and Recognition” ceremony recently. The criteria for the award is: “Reflecting city guiding principles in dealing with internal or external customers, consistent devotion to department or City goals, focusing on quality and excellence and/or creative use of innovation to achieve goals.”

He was given a letter of recognition from Mayor John Peyton, a $200 savings bond, $100 worth of mall money, and a paperweight. Sigler nominated Jaskula for the award.

Jaskula has worked at the Main Library for about three years and worked for an inventory company prior to working for the City, so he knows about inventory control.

“A case like this came up the previous year, so security made sure we were aware of what to look for,” said Jaskula. “I put a note on the accounts when the overdue notices started to pile up. After a little research, I noticed that a lot of the cards were attached to the same driver’s license.”

The library requires proof of identification before they can issue a library card, but parents usually put kids on their driver’s license. Two or three different names tied to the same driver’s license doesn’t normally raise any eyebrows, but Jermaine Smith had over a dozen library cards issued to his fictional children using fake names.

Jaskula printed up all the accounts that were tied to Smith and handed them over to Sigler. The information was verified and then given to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Shortly after JSO was notified, Smith’s picture accompanied a report of his crime on the evening news.

“We were briefing the security staff the morning after the news broadcast to tell them to watch out for this guy,” said Sigler. “Right after we finished telling people to look out for him, he walked in the front door. We called JSO and he was arrested shortly after.”

Smith was found guilty of fraud and will be on probation until he reimburses the library for the items that were stolen.

“It’s good to know results were accomplished,” said Jaskula. “It’s good to know there is restitution on the books.”

To see an investigation produce results made Jaskula feel good, but it’s not the best part of his job.

“The people I work with are great. Everybody is helpful and the supervisors always have your back,” said Jaskula. “Plus my wife works here so we get to have lunch with each other every day.”

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