Daniel C. Elwell, 25, pulled a knife and verbally threatened two store employees when they confronted him as he left the store, stolen books in hand, according to the Boise Police Department.
A store employee followed Elwell and stayed in contact with responding officers on the phone, informing them of his location, according to the news release.
Police believe Elwell, who they described as transient, intended to return the stolen books for cash.
Elwell was booked into the Ada County Jail on charges of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. The assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.