Kansas University's officials are concerned suspected militia members may try to take old books from the school's law library.
The men who want the books apparently have not identified themselves as members of any organization -- much less paramilitary -- and no books have been reported missing so far.
But witnesses say the men apparently are concerned the books, which contain old Kansas statutes, might be destroyed. Wednesday night, police say, one man offered a janitor money to let him take the volumes.
The janitor refused, and called police instead.
KU Public Safety Officer Stephen R. Mooney said in a written report that three men -- none of them KU students -- have been coming for several months to the library in Green Hall.
The janitor "believed they were 'Freeman' or 'militia' types, and that they liked to do research using old law books," Mooney wrote.
One man, about 30 years old, sometimes wears a jacket with the words "Kansas Citizen" on the back, Mooney said. That man also gave library employees a business card identifying himself as a citizen.
Mooney said the janitor gave the following report:
About 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, said the jacketed man asked about some old books that had been placed in boxes. Library staffers told him they could not sell the books, which were going into storage.
"He became upset and did not seem to believe them, saying that they were going to be destroyed," Mooney wrote.
On his way out, the janitor told Mooney, the man offered the janitor $160 to let him take six boxes of books. The janitor refused, and the man left without any books.
Mooney said library staffers do not believe any books have been taken -- yet.
"She and other staff members believe he may try to obtain some of the books, since he is so adamant about them possibly being destroyed," Mooney wrote.
Mooney told library staffers to lock the books away until they are put in permanent storage.
That should be soon, said Shelley Hickman Clark, associate dean of KU's law school. She met Thursday with library staff to discuss storage plans for the books.
There is no plan to destroy them, she said. Instead, she said, "they'll just end up in the corners of the library."
It's rare, she said, for the school to dispose of old law books, because most are still useful -- even when outdated.
"Our law is based on history and precedent," she said.
Nobody answered the door at a Lawrence residence listed on the business card of jacketed man.