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Local Student Outsmarts Van Pelt Bag Search Policy by Shoving Rare 19th Century Manuscript Up Ass


The Penn Germanic Studies community has been left reeling after the recent theft of an historic manuscript from Van Pelt Library. On Monday, the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts announced that foul play was suspected in the disappearance of Altdeutsche Märchen, Sagen und Legenden, a 19th-century compilation of German fairy tales and mythology first published in Leipzig, Prussia. 

“This loss is absolutely devastating,” read a press release from the Kislak Center. “The Altdeutsche Märchen was one of our most-requested titles, being checked out over thrice from the library since it was first published in 1877. This news highlights the importance of the security procedures we already have in place: by pretending to open your bag and pretending to show it to a security guard who pretends to examine its contents before waving you through, we can ensure that none of our obscure periodicals from 17th-century Ottoman Palestine go missing ever again.”

When Under the Button contacted the Penn Police Department with inquiries, we were informed that a College sophomore named Caoni (Tony) Ma was currently being considered as a person of interest, but that no further comment on an ongoing investigation would be provided. However, UTB received a copy of the day’s surveillance footage from an anonymous source with the Penn Libraries. A transcript of the video is provided below, lightly edited for clarity.

  • [00:00:00] Suspect exits elevator on fifth floor of Van Pelt.
  • [00:00:16] Suspect enters Kislak Center, greets library staff.
  • [00:01:03] Suspect walks around for a few seconds before finding secluded corner of the bookstacks.
  • [00:01:22] After looking to make sure no one is looking, suspect drops his pants.
  • [00:02:01] Suspect takes the thickest tome he can find off the shelf and starts working his way up there.
  • [00:02:02] Suspect grimaces.
  • [00:02:03] Suspect gnashes his teeth.
  • [00:02:05] Suspect groans.
  • [00:02:22] Suspect takes a breather, looking visibly uncomfortable.
  • [00:03:46] Suspect gets back to work.
  • [00:10:52] After pronounced effort, suspect’s hand reemerges from backside with no book in sight.
  • [00:11:04] Suspect pulls pants back up.
  • [00:11:50] Suspect hobbles out of Kislak Center and boards elevator.
  • [00:12:14] Suspect exits elevator on first floor of Van Pelt.
  • [00:12:21] Suspect opens backpack for security staff, proudly proclaiming, “Look! Nothing’s in there.”
  • [00:12:27] After being waved through, suspect limps through front doors of Van Pelt Library.
  • [00:12:43] Suspect loses consciousness and collapses, comically bouncing down the front stairs like a Slinky.
  • [03:55:54] Suspect regains consciousness. Slowly crawls out of frame on all fours, asking out loud, “Why the fuck did I do that?”

In unrelated news, the Penn Library administration has announced that effective immediately, Van Pelt will be imposing a full body cavity search policy for all students entering and leaving the library.