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Stolen Historical Collectibles Returned To Rightful Owners After Theft Scheme

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the final chapter in a brazen scheme to steal part of history. Millions of dollars’ worth of political collectibles are now back with their rightful owners.

Adam May has a look at the valuables.

Federal investigators are now returning history that became evidence in a criminal case.

“They were sitting right here and if you’ll notice, we no longer allow patrons to sit right here,” said Dr. Pat Anderson.

Anderson explains how two con artists, Barry Landau and Jason Savedoff, stole valuable documents from the Maryland Historical Society.

“He’s moving to block the other guy back here and he’s putting it in his pockets,” Anderson said.

There was a specially made jacket with hidden pockets that helped the duo get away with a wide variety of political ephemera. They wrote “W,” short for “Weasel” on the stolen goods—a program for President Lincoln’s funeral, tickets to the 1920 Democratic convention and an invitation to dinner with Vice President Humphrey.

When the so-called weasels were caught, they were trying to steal tickets to watch the impeachment of President Johnson in 1858.

Last year, the self-proclaimed presidential historian was sentenced to seven years in prison.

“Mr. Landau masqueraded as a historian when in reality, he was a con artist who gained people’s trust and stole their property,” said Rod Rosenstein.

Those stolen items are now going back to the Historical Society for others to enjoy.

“It’s getting to touch history,” Anderson said. “When you touch that, your hands touch theirs.”

Since the crime, visitors can no longer wear sport coats. The society is still waiting for about 130 documents from federal investigators.

The pair also stole documents from other historical societies across the nation.

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