Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE ( WJZ) — Stealing history. A man learns his fate–after he admits he was part of a multi-state scam–swiping priceless rare documents from libraries.
Jason Savedoff appeared in court Friday night. Meghan McCorkell was in the courtroom when the sentencing was handed down.
A judge refused to let Jason Savedoff off with just probation, instead sentencing him to time behind bars–saying he crossed the line and knew it was wrong.
Only WJZ cameras were there as Jason Savedoff walked out of the federal courthouse, moments after a judge sentenced him to a year and a day behind bars. The 25-year-old–part of a document stealing team–used hidden pockets in jackets to swipe priceless historical documents and sell them for big bucks.
His mentor, 64-year-old Barry Landau, is now serving a 7-year prison sentence. The two accused in a crime spree all over the northeast. But their heist ended at the Maryland Historical Society–where observant staffers caught them red-handed.
Savedoff–caught stealing a document. When police searched his and Landau’s locker, they found 60 stolen items. Defense lawyers claim Landau preyed on Savedoff–who suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Savedoff himself telling the judge:
“Your honor, I’m really really sorry. I should have never gotten involved in this. I truly apologize.”
“It was a tremendous haul. They took a lot of stuff from a lot of institutions,” said Pat Anderson, Md. Historical Society.
Libraries across the country–now cracking down on security.
Savedoff is cooperating with investigators to try and return those documents.
“He was just big picture able to identify which documents came from which institutions. So for all the institutions affected, that I think was the most valuable,” Anderson said.
But not enough to keep him out of prison.
Savedoff has until January to turn himself in to serve his sentence.
The FBI says only about 30% of the documents stolen by Savedoff and Landau have been recovered and returned to their owners.