A National Archives official called the scope of the case "truly breathtaking," with the indictment charging that the two men pilfered and sold copies of speeches from a former president and took a land grant signed by Abraham Lincoln along with a letter to John Paul Jones.
- N.Y. collector, partner have bail reduced in theft case
- FBI searches N.Y. home of jailed memorabilia collector
- Probe expands into attempted theft of Maryland historical papers
- Jason Saveoff
- Barry Landau
- Video: 2 held in historical documents theft
- Justice System
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700 West End Ave, New York, NY 10025, USA
1 W 57th St, New York, NY 10022, USA
101 W Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY 12538, USA
New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, USA
Maryland Historical Society, 201 W Monument St, Baltimore, MD 21201-4674, USA
The men were previously charged with theft in state court after a Maryland Historical Society employee said he saw Savedoff, who had been accompanied by Landau, swipe a text from the library on July 9. Police later recovered 60 documents stashed inside library locker No. 7, to which Savedoff held the key.
The new charges allege that the men — one a self-promoting name-dropper who claims to have hobnobbed with presidents, the other a relatively unknown less than half the age of his alleged accomplice — were engaged in a wider-reaching theft scheme than originally thought, with several victims across at least two states.
"While our Archival Recovery Team has recovered thousands of records during my tenure, the scope and notoriety of what we have seized and secured in this case is truly breathtaking," according to a statement by Inspector General Paul Brachfeld of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Brachfeld said he expects more holdings to be recovered as the investigation continues.
The six-page indictment alleges that, from December through July, the pair stole:
• Seven annotated copies of presidential speeches from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y., later selling four of them for a total of $35,000.
A 1780 April Fools' Day letter from Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones, held at the New York Historical Society.
Dozens of documents from the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, including a land grant from President Abraham Lincoln to a soldier from the Maryland Militia, War of 1812.
Landau's Baltimore lawyers, Andrew White and Steve Silverman, declined to comment on the indictment Thursday, other than to say they knew it was coming. Savedoff's attorney did not return a call seeking comment last night.
Federal marshals are expected to take custody of the men, who are now being held in a state detention center, Friday morning. The Maryland theft charges will likely be dropped then as well, Silverman said.
Savedoff and Landau will have an initial appearance in Baltimore's U.S. District Court on Friday, followed by a detention hearing, which will likely be held sometime next week, the attorneys said.
It's unclear what the relationship is between the two men. They appeared to travel to various museums as a pair, frequently showing up with sweets: cupcakes in Maryland and cookies in Pennsylvania.
Those who met them describe the duo in mentor and muscle terms. Landau "had class," while Savedoff was "rough around the edges," said a senior director at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which the two men visited 17 times over a six-month period.
"We're all madly combing through our materials to see if there's anything missing and if we can reclaim anything," said Kim Sajet, president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
The men are not accused of stealing anything from the Pennsylvania archive, though the FBI has asked museums throughout the country to check their records for signs of Savedoff and Landau.
They visited the Connecticut Historical Society four times in 2011, according to Richard Malley, head of research and collections, which has sent the staff into "reviewing mode, big time," he said, "through all of the various collections that Barry Landau and Jason Savedoff used."