The mystery of the steak sauce in the library (hint: Make it A.1.)

Since January, a public library in Ohio has been discovering hidden bottles of A.1. steak sauce.

Who’s leaving empty A.1. steak sauce bottles in an Ohio library? A public library in Ohio has launched a high-steaks investigation (ar ar) after workers discovered dozens of empty A.1. bottles stashed in their stacks.

Employees of the Avon Lake, Ohio, library found the first bottle in their building in January, when one appeared in the newspaper section, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Since then, workers and security guards have found almost 30 of the bottles hidden behind books and plants in the library. Video from the library has not turned up a culprit.

All the bottles were stripped of their labels and had been cleaned, library employees told People magazine.


Library employee Linda Janesz and her co-workers are stumped by the appearance of the steak sauce bottles.

“Sometimes we find one, sometimes we find three or four, sometimes we don’t find any,” she said. “Our surveillance video doesn’t show anyone trying to hide something.”

Library workers first theorized that the bottles were being used to hide alcohol. (A Napa Valley Cabernet goes well with a New York strip.)

But after subjecting the bottles to a smell test, employees determined the bottles had contained only tangy steak sauce and not booze, reports the (Elyria, Ohio) Chronicle-Telegram.


Library page supervisor Dan Cotton said that if there’s a method to the steak-sauce madness, the staff has been unable to figure it out.

“We mapped the first 12 to see if we could find a pattern, but we couldn’t find a discernible pattern,” he said.

Janesz said she thinks it’s unlikely that a student has been leaving the bottles, since they seem to be hidden during the day. But she’s at a loss to explain who’s behind the flow of steak sauce bottles.


“We don’t know if they are playing a game or purposely doing this to stump us,” she said. “We don’t know; it’s just kind of bizarre. Is it a game that we don’t know how to play or are we messing up someone’s game?”