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  60 Minutes (2012): Archives' Apollo photos stolen

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Author Topic:   60 Minutes (2012): Archives' Apollo photos stolen
SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3151
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-26-2012 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CBS news magazine 60 Minutes reports that photos taken by the astronauts on the moon are among the items that have been stolen from our National Archives.
Bob Simon reports on this alarming trend -- and the conman now serving seven years in prison for the largest theft of historic artifacts in U.S. history -- in a 60 Minutes report to be broadcast Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Some of the items are back where they belong, like the Hindenburg recording and the space photos. Recovering the stolen artifacts is the job of people like Mitch Yockelson of the National Archives Archival Recovery Team. "We're missing the Wright Brothers patent. That would thrill me to no end to recover the patent for the Flying Machine of 1903," Yockelson tells Simon. Nobody knows when it was stolen. "We discovered it was missing in 2003."

The armed recovery team, which chases stolen artifacts along with the FBI, was formed by the National Archives' Inspector General Paul Brachfeld. With a rise in thefts in libraries, historical societies and in the 44 separate archives throughout the country, it was time. "Every institution now that has collections is threatened. We all know that there is a major threat and it's getting larger," says Brachfeld.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 818
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-26-2012 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the larger thefts from the National Archives was by a retired 40 year former employee of the archives. Leslie Waffen left with over 4,800 artifacts taken from the archives. He sold the Hindenburg recording, which was later recovered. He also sold a one of a kind Babe Ruth interview on eBay for $34.74. He was caught by the collector who donated the Babe Ruth recording to the archives years before.

He has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

mode1charlie
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Posts: 562
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 10-27-2012 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
He has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Not long enough.

p51
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Posts: 960
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 10-27-2012 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amen to the not long enough comment. If you steal anything like, you're stealing from ALL of us, as a culture, collectively.

It's really easy (or it used to be) to walk off with something from places you'd never think. I did research for a friend in DC on a non-space-related book and was handed stuff on unimagineable historic importance and could have walked off with it. I'm surprised it hasn't happened more often than it has, really.

freshspot
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Posts: 283
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 10-29-2012 04:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched the "60 Minutes" piece last night. Incredible what this guy pulled off. I fear many smaller museums are still vulnerable.

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3140
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-29-2012 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
Amen to the not long enough comment. If you steal anything like, you're stealing from ALL of us, as a culture, collectively.

Sadly it will go on. You only have to look around to see stuff pillaged from Iraqi museums/archives and, more recently, the Cairo museum was compromised during civil unrest. ANY form of cultural pillaging, national or international is ignorance and criminality combined.

p51
Member

Posts: 960
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 10-29-2012 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
Sadly it will go on.
Oh yes, no question about that. But Western museums have gotten much better in their tracking in the past few years.

Still, it was downright frightening to know at one point I was holding a very important document from FDR's administration and knowing that nothing was preventing me from just standing up and walking out with it, and that I could have used an assumed name and they'd never have found it later unless I tired to sell it or showed it to someone who'd tell the right people about it.

Does anyone recall that guy at the Smithsonian years ago who was stealing WW1 airplane parts? He'd represent the museum (he was well placed at the museum and wasn't lying about that) to vets and families and would 'accept donations' of sections of fabric from WW2 fighters, then would keep or sell them. It went on for a long time before he was caught.

Museums also sell or trade things that is in violation of their charters. I had a very well-known museum offer me almost anything I wanted from their collection storage in exchange for a very historical item I had in my collection they wanted badly. I never forgot that and I will NEVER donate anything to any museum for that reason.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3151
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-02-2014 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good segment on "60 Minutes" this evening covering the theft of documents and artifacts from archives and national institutions. Previously aired.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

All times are CT (US)

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