National Archives Stolen Documents Case Makes History | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

National Archives Stolen Documents Case Makes History

Play associated audio

When investigators seeking stolen historical documents from the National Archives showed up to search the apartment of a New York presidential memorabilia collector, they brought just a few boxes — they had no idea what they were in for.

The documents are being called "priceless," and they include handwritten letters and manuscripts from famous individuals like John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and Benjamin Franklin.

Mitch Yockelson, an investigative archivist with the National Archives, helped look into the case of collector Barry Landau, and says items were found throughout the home.

"We found what appeared to be documents of historic value all over the place — in his bedroom, in his kitchen area, in his living room," says Yockelson.

He says a letter written by Benjamin Franklin was lying on an ottoman.

"Not only did we have to rent a truck, but we had to go across the street to the office supply store, and we literally bought them out of file boxes."

Yockelson says when he walked into the apartment, he had no idea that thousands of documents would be uncovered.

"This ultimately turned out to be what we believe is what largest theft of historical documents, literally in history."

Landau and his assistant, Jason Savedoff, are both serving prison sentences.

NPR

Snubs And Successes: 6 Lessons Learned From This Year's Emmy Nominations

HBO's Game of Thrones emerged as the most-nominated series with 19 nods for the Primetime Emmy Awards, but new series such as FX's Fargo and HBO's True Detective scored, too.
NPR

'Captain Pizza' Saves The Day, But Doesn't Save Himself A Slice

A pilot found himself hungry during a midflight delay. But instead of just buying a pizza for himself, he bought 50 pizzas for the entire Frontier Airlines plane.
NPR

Study: Statehouse Press Corps In Decline

A Pew report found the number of full-time newspaper reporters covering state politics fell dramatically in the last decade, raising questions about their ability to closely monitor politicians.
NPR

A New Device Lets You Track Your Preschooler ... And Listen In

LG's KizON wristband lets you keep tabs on your child. But some experts say such devices send the wrong message about the world we live in. And the gadgets raise questions about kids' privacy rights.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.