Museum theft connections investigated
By Matt Surtel firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, February 4, 2010 10:08 AM EST
CALEDONIA — One man has been charged and another is wanted in connection with thefts from area museums and historical societies.
Roy Ortiz, 35, was charged this week with criminal possession of stolen property, said Acting Supervisor Daniel Chapman of the Caledonia police. In the meantime, his brother Michael Ortiz is wanted for grand larceny by the Warsaw and West Seneca police departments.
According to workers in Caledonia’s Big Springs Museum, a man entered the building during regular hours and distracted the attendant with a photograph.
He asked her if she recognized a dog in the photo, and said it was lost and belonged to his daughter. The man then went to the second floor where he stayed about 30 minutes.
Museum workers discovered two days later that locks had been broken off some of the display cases. Several items, including a German World War II helmet and a Civil War surgical kit were taken.
Roy Ortiz is accused of trying to pawn the items at a shop in Greece, police said. He was taken into custody by state police in Rochester and was later questioned by Caledonia’s officers.
Police said he was committed to Monroe County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. Michael Ortiz, 38, remains wanted.
In West Seneca, police said he’s believed responsible for the theft of an antique gun this past October from that town’s historical society. Warsaw village police declined to release details of their investigation.
Police are checking to see if there’s a possible connection between the brothers’ respective cases. The investigation, which also includes the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Mount Morris, Dansville and Penn Yan police departments, is continuing.
Both Ortiz brothers and a third brother, Kenneth, were charged in 2006 with criminal possession of stolen property after they were accused of stealing hundreds of antiques and collectibles throughout Western New York.
About 450 items were recovered at their homes in Albion and Ridgeway.