Woman told to reimburse library for book damage Chicken livers stuffed into mailboxes also

May 23, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

A Brooklyn Park woman whose apparent frustration with the staff at her neighborhood post office and library drove her to dump raw chicken livers in their drop boxes last year has been told to behave for a year and then her record will be wiped clean.

Looking wan in District Court in Glen Burnie yesterday, Janet Lee Manning, 47, of the first block of Coach Lane, entered an Alford plea, admitting no guilt but acknowledging that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to convict if the case went to trial.

Manning declined to comment during the hearing and refused to shed any light on her motives for dumpings the livers after the proceedings ended.

"She's happy it's resolved," said her attorney, Charles L. Waechter. "She wants to put this behind her."

Brooklyn Park library and post office managers said they were pleased with the outcome. Library manager Dave LaPenotiere said he was especially happy about the $1,000 in restitution Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis ordered Manning to pay the library.

"I'm most happy that we're going to have money to replace the books that were destroyed," said LaPenotiere, who showed up in court with three other library staffers planning to testify.

According to court charging records, raw chicken livers were dumped in the library drop boxes between October 1996 and May 1997 and in mailboxes between April and May 1997. They were dumped on weekends, which LaPenotiere said caused extra damage because blood seeped into letters and books for about two days.

Police identified Manning when they set up surveillance cameras at the library and mailboxes. She was arrested June 10 and charged with six counts of destruction of library property and three counts of destruction of U.S. Postal Service property.

Police said at the time that they believed revenge for perceived ++ bad service had triggered the incidents. LaPenotiere said the damaged books cost $2,000.

During the hearing, Manning stood silent before the judge.

Waechter told the judge that Manning has "limited education," no prior criminal record and "for the last three years has had medical problems that caused her not to be able to work."

Davis-Loomis placed her on probation, fined her $1,000 and added another $500 penalty for the mail boxes before suspending both fines. She ordered Manning to pay the library $1,000 to replace damaged books, for which Andrews said the library did not otherwise have the funds.

The judge also ordered Manning to stay away from all drop boxes and anything affiliated with Anne Arundel County libraries.

Joy Rowe, a library circulation assistant, said she had to clean the drop box after last year's Memorial Day weekend, when the damage was especially bad.

"I was gagging and ill all day," she said. "Not only were the livers rotted, there were dead maggots. I just tried not to breathe."

LaPenotiere said the situation was made worse for library staff because they could not just throw out the soiled books.

"We had to process them out of the system first" so the book returns would be logged, he said.

The manager said Manning's tiff with library staff was minor. He said she had demanded a printed receipt for books she returned, which library computers are not equipped to provide.

Nancy Talvik, Brooklyn Curtis Bay post office customer service manager, said she couldn't even remember whether any of her staff had had run-ins with Manning. She said about 200 letters were damaged and staff members wrote to all senders of damaged mail, enclosing a stamp, informing them of the incident and apologizing.

Pub Date: 5/23/98

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