Library staff solves case of stolen skateboard

Call it HPL-CSI. That’s Homer Public Library-Crime Scene Investigators. 

In the case of a stolen skateboard, library staff last week screening security videos helped identify a person suspected of taking a 13-year-old boy’s custom, handmade, longboard-style skateboard. In a twist in the case, staff also noticed the suspect sitting at a computer while they screened the videos.

Homer Police last week charged Travis K. Catron, 21 with third-degree theft. After Sgt. Dave Shealy gave Catron 24-hour notice to return the longboard, Catron did so, Shealy wrote in a criminal complaint, and returned the stolen longboard to the boy. The longboard was worth about $125.

In Shealy’s complaint, he said that at about 4 p.m. July 10, the boy reported someone took his longboard from the library lobby. He’d left it in a coat rack area for about 5 minutes and found his longboard missing.

Police then asked library computer technicians to review security footage of that day.

Library director Ann Dixon said the library has several security cameras watching areas. To protect library users’ privacy, the footage can only be screened at police request. On July 11, techs reviewed the footage and saw a man taking the longboard. Staff also saw a man at a computer wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the video.

“It so happened he (the suspect) was in the library at the time,” Dixon said. “We called the police and they came and talked to him.”

Shealy contacted Catron and interviewed him. Catron said he took the longboard, but that a friend had asked him to pick it up for him. He then gave it to the friend. Shealy wrote that he reviewed the footage and it showed Catron walking away from the library with the longboard and stashing it in woods near the library. Shealy said it also appeared Catron looked back at the library numerous times as if he was doing something wrong.

Shealy then gave Catron the 24-hours notice to return the longboard, and he did so the evening of July 11, Shealy wrote.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at