BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Historical heist.  Millions of dollars worth of historical documents were stolen right out of the Maryland Historical Society.

Kai Jackson explains one of the suspects is a well-known collector of presidential artifacts.

An employee is being credited with stopping precious documents from leaving the building, while a man who’s traveled in presidential circles is accused of trying to steal them.

The Maryland Historical Society houses some of the state’s most important documents, history on paper that dates back to Maryland’s colonial beginnings.

“Well, I was not surprised.  This kind of thing has been happening more in recent years but I was thrilled that they were caught,” said Dr. Matthew Mulcahy, Loyola University Maryland.

Baltimore City Police say two men are now charged with trying to steal old and valuable documents.  Among the accused, 63-year-old author and self-proclaimed presidential historian Barry Landau.  He’s been in the company of numerous presidents in recent years and he’s appeared on various network news programs. 

Police charged Landau and Jason Savedoff, 24, with theft.  Investigators say the pair hid priceless documents in a locker at the museum, including a $300,000 Lincoln document, inaugural ball invitations worth $100,000 and a signed commemoration of the Washington Monument, also worth $100,000.

An employee watching the suspects called police.

“These kind of artifacts and documents, they’re essential to what we do as historians but they’re also tangible links to the past,” Mulcahy said.  “Obviously these kinds of things are not easily resold anywhere in an open market.”

The FBI is also involved in the investigation under a statute covering thefts from museums.


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