It would appear a Sherlock Holmes-loving carnivore is having a laugh at the expense of the staff at Avon Lake Public Library in Ohio by playing Professor Moriarty to the amateur detectives.
Back on January 11, Dan Cotton, the library’s page supervisor, found an empty, clean A1 Steak Sauce bottle hidden in the library's newspapers.
It was the first of 30 (so far) of the 10-ounce bottles that they've found since. The most popular hiding place for the bottles has been the nonfiction section. Others were found among magazines, the fiction section, the children’s section, and elsewhere.
“They’re real clean, like they’ve been put through a dishwasher,” said Jill Ralston, the library’s public relations and marketing coordinator, who admitted to being a little salty about not having found one yet.
“We mapped the first 12 to see if we could find a pattern, but we couldn’t find a discernible pattern,” Cotton told the Chronicle-Telegram.
The staff's theories include the bottles as part of a geocaching game, as a way to sneak alcohol into the library (this was shut down when none of them smelled like alcohol), and, the most likely scenario, as a super random prank being played on the library's workers.
Some genius on Facebook had a different suggestion: "Maybe it's a rating of how good the book is … an A-1?!"
Either way, they're determined to find the culprit.
“We’re all playing detective,” Ralston said.