Canton man charged with burglary of library
TROY - A 24-year-old Canton man has been charged with burglarizing the Green Free Library in Canton and accessing a computer in the library after-hours to view pornographic websites, according to court papers filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox of Troy.
William Charles Harris of Canton faces a preliminary hearing at 1:15 p.m. May 7 before Wilcox on charges of burglary, criminal trespass - enter structure, unlawful use of computer, and display obscene sexual materials for the incident that took place April 14.
In an affidavit, Canton Police Officer Joshua Heckman said he spoke with a librarian, who told him she received a text from someone who lives just north of the library, located at 14 N. Center St. The person informed her that she saw an unknown person on the main computer in the library. Heckman said he searched the inside of the library, with negative results.
Then, a library official checked the computer to see if anyone had accessed it. When she did, the screen popped up with pornographic images. Heckman said he looked into the computer's web history and found that multiple pornographic pages had been accessed from 8:20 p.m. until 8:27 p.m. Heckman said a library official found what Heckman believed may have been a bodily fluid, on the floor.
Heckman said he asked the librarian if she had any idea who may have done this and how they may have gotten inside, when all the doors and windows were secure. The librarian said that she could only think of one person, William Harris.
In the past, the librarian said, Harris had tried to gain access to pornographic web sites on the library's computers, but the computers all have filters on them, except for the main computer.
She said that Harris, who she said has a criminal record and was just released from jail, comes into the library on a regular basis and disappears to the basement for extended periods of time, to reportedly use the rest room. She said that it was possible that he left the emergency door propped open or unlocked a window, so he could gain access to the building, after it closed, though she was just speculating.
In addition, the librarian told Canton Police Officer Trey Kurtz that the day before the break-in, Harris was in the library attempting to look up porn sites on a public computer and became angry when the restrictions on the computer stopped him. She also said Harris was in the library the night of the break-in, up until closing and kept going downstairs, where there is only a children's library and a bathroom. As they were speaking, the children's librarian arrived and went downstairs to prepare. Then, she came upstairs and told Kurtz to come down and check out something. She showed Kurtz an unlocked window and dirty shoe prints on a children's table, right inside of the window.
Kurtz said he realized that if this was the burglar's point of entry, then the burglar would be on the police department's surveillance system, as a camera points in that direction.
Afterwards, Kurtz said he made contact with Harris and asked Harris about his attempts to look up porn on the library computer. Kurtz said Harris said that he was trying to get onto a site called redtube.com, but the computer wouldn't let him, so he left. Kurtz asked Harris if he knew what happened at the library the previous night, and Harris responded, "yeah, some sort of break-in or something."
Kurtz said Harris denied knowledge of anything about the burglary. Kurtz said he returned to the police department to view the surveillance footage around the time of the break-in, and was able to see a man who appeared to be Harris, walking around the library and walking down the stairs and lifting the window. The surveillance shows the man making sure it is unlocked, and walking back out front to make sure no one is looking, according to Kurtz. He said Harris appears to pace around a little bit, before going down the stairs and entering the window, where the dirty shoe prints were found.
Kurtz said one of Harris' family members said that Harris admitted to the burglary, "stating he had blacked out and didn't remember much," but authorities "knew he did it."
When Harris arrived at the police department, he agreed to complete a written statement if police could get him help. Kurtz told Harris he would do everything he could to get him the help he needs. Harris apologized to Kurtz for lying to him earlier, and "stated he might as well cooperate because he knew we would figure it out sooner or later."
Wilcox said Harris was sent a summons by certified mail.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.