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Feds: Drew U. freshman stole, sold rare documents from Methodist archives

Feds: Drew U. freshman stole, sold rare documents from Methodist archives
Daily Record
MADISON – A Drew University freshman appeared in U.S. District Court today in connection with his arrest for the theft of ancient, historical and cultural documents from the university’s United Methodist Archives Center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
William J. Scott, 18, of Longmeadow, Mass., was arrested Sunday by Special Agents of the FBI under a federal complaint that charged him with theft of an object of cultural heritage from a museum.
At an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, Scott was released on bail.
Authorities said Scott, a Drew freshman, worked as a paid student assistant at the Archives Center since approximately October 2009. The Archives Center is home to the official archival repository for The United Methodist Church. Its collection includes records from the various denominational agencies within the United Methodist tradition, and personal papers of several bishops, denominational leaders, and missionaries from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Many of the documents housed at the Archives Center are maintained in a secure storage room that is locked and only accessible to those who, like Scott, are given keys by the Archives Center.
Included among the papers stored in the secure storage room at the Archives Center are approximately 145 letters of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism. The letters were written in the 18th and 19th centuries and are valued on the open market at between approximately $5,000 and $12,000 per letter. Also included among the documents at the Archives Center are various letters written by past presidents of the United States, including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, to various Methodist Bishops and other important Methodist figures.
“It is a sad day when a student at one of our nation’s learning institutions pilfers great cultural and historical resources, rather than respects and learns from them.” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Authorities said that, on March 1, Scott sent approximately 10 of the Wesley Letters that he had stolen from the Archives Center to a United Kingdom based dealer of autograph letters, historical documents and textual manuscripts. Because Scott sent important and valuable letters to the U.K. in an unprofessional and unprotected manner, two of the letters arrived damaged, prompting the dealer to contact the Archives Center.
As a result, the Archives Center conducted a review of their Wesley Letters and determined that between approximately 21 and 23 of the Wesley Letters had been stolen.
The FBI executed a search warrant in Scott’s dorm room at Drew University on Saturday.
Inside a drawer in a dresser in Scott’s closet, agents found a folder that contained approximately six of the Wesley Letters and approximately 11 other historical documents that Scott had stolen from the Archives Center.
The FBI recovered the following documents:– Letter from John Wesley to Father Merriweather from December 1766; — Letter from President Abraham Lincoln from May 1864; — Deed signed by President Andrew Johnson from September 1865; — Letter from President William McKinley to Bishop Fowler from November 1894; — Letter from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from June 1935;
— Letter from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from June 1945; — Letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower from February 1953; — Letter from Madame Chiang Kai-Shek to Bishop Welch from April 1953; — Letter from Vice-President Richard Nixon to Bishop Welch from May 1953; and — Letter from Robert F. Kennedy to Bishop Welch from January 1967.
If convicted, Scott faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20100315/UPDATES01/100315068/-1/UPDATES01/Feds–Drew-U.-freshman-stole–sold-rare-documents-from-Methodist-archives

Feds: Drew U. freshman stole, sold rare documents from Methodist archivesDaily RecordMADISON – A Drew University freshman appeared in U.S. District Court today in connection with his arrest for the theft of ancient, historical and cultural documents from the university’s United Methodist Archives Center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.William J. Scott, 18, of Longmeadow, Mass., was arrested Sunday by Special Agents of the FBI under a federal complaint that charged him with theft of an object of cultural heritage from a museum.At an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, Scott was released on bail.Authorities said Scott, a Drew freshman, worked as a paid student assistant at the Archives Center since approximately October 2009. The Archives Center is home to the official archival repository for The United Methodist Church. Its collection includes records from the various denominational agencies within the United Methodist tradition, and personal papers of several bishops, denominational leaders, and missionaries from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.Many of the documents housed at the Archives Center are maintained in a secure storage room that is locked and only accessible to those who, like Scott, are given keys by the Archives Center.Included among the papers stored in the secure storage room at the Archives Center are approximately 145 letters of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism. The letters were written in the 18th and 19th centuries and are valued on the open market at between approximately $5,000 and $12,000 per letter. Also included among the documents at the Archives Center are various letters written by past presidents of the United States, including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, to various Methodist Bishops and other important Methodist figures.“It is a sad day when a student at one of our nation’s learning institutions pilfers great cultural and historical resources, rather than respects and learns from them.” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.Authorities said that, on March 1, Scott sent approximately 10 of the Wesley Letters that he had stolen from the Archives Center to a United Kingdom based dealer of autograph letters, historical documents and textual manuscripts. Because Scott sent important and valuable letters to the U.K. in an unprofessional and unprotected manner, two of the letters arrived damaged, prompting the dealer to contact the Archives Center.As a result, the Archives Center conducted a review of their Wesley Letters and determined that between approximately 21 and 23 of the Wesley Letters had been stolen.The FBI executed a search warrant in Scott’s dorm room at Drew University on Saturday.Inside a drawer in a dresser in Scott’s closet, agents found a folder that contained approximately six of the Wesley Letters and approximately 11 other historical documents that Scott had stolen from the Archives Center.The FBI recovered the following documents:– Letter from John Wesley to Father Merriweather from December 1766; — Letter from President Abraham Lincoln from May 1864; — Deed signed by President Andrew Johnson from September 1865; — Letter from President William McKinley to Bishop Fowler from November 1894; — Letter from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from June 1935;– Letter from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from June 1945; — Letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower from February 1953; — Letter from Madame Chiang Kai-Shek to Bishop Welch from April 1953; — Letter from Vice-President Richard Nixon to Bishop Welch from May 1953; and — Letter from Robert F. Kennedy to Bishop Welch from January 1967.If convicted, Scott faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20100315/UPDATES01/100315068/-1/UPDATES01/Feds–Drew-U.-freshman-stole–sold-rare-documents-from-Methodist-archives

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