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Historian charged with theft from Maryland Historical Society

A Presidential historian and a 24-year-old collector of historical artifacts, have been accused of the theft of millions of dollars’ worth of valuable historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society, including documents signed by Abraham Lincoln.

The well-known 63-year-old historian has compiled an extremely large collection of Presidential memorabilia. He has served nine Presidents and has worked with the White House in planning historical events for half a century. Unfortunately, his reputation is now at stake as he stands under suspicion of having either obtained part of that collection unlawfully or by intending to add to it by stealing.

The allegations stem from an incident at the Maryland Historical Society’s library this past weekend. The historian and the young collector were given access to the authentic documents for several hours during the day. An employee of the historical society says he saw the 24-year-old collector concealing a document in his private belongings before exiting the library. The observer called police and identified him while the collector was exiting a nearby bathroom.

The police say that upon a physical search they found a set of keys on him. Reportedly, the key went to a locker located in a nearby building. Investigators say they found 60 documents belonging to the library hidden inside the locker.

Purportedly, the documents were signed out by the historian. As a result, both the collector and the historian have been charged in the alleged theft. The pair has been charged with one count of theft of $100,000. Currently, a determination is being made as to whether the charges involve a state or federal crime.

The FBI became involved in the investigation almost immediately and is working with Baltimore police. It is possible that the charges will change as the investigation continues to unfold. However, the two are currently being held in a Baltimore prison without bail. A Preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 11.

Source: The New York Times, “Presidential Historian and Colleague Arrested in Theft of Documents in Maryland,” Sabrina Tavernise, 12 July 2011

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