1/28/08

The Dark Side of Ebay

As long as I am on the subject today of Ebay, yes there is that other side of the coin. The dark side. The Ebay site allows for the quick and easy disposal of stolen merchandise. Here is a story that shocks us, but does not surprise us.
New York halts sale of historic documents on eBay

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state employee who had access to government-owned archives has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds of historic documents, many of which he sold on eBay, authorities said on Monday.

Among the missing documents were a 1823 letter by Vice President John C. Calhoun and copies of the Davy Crockett Almanacs, pamphlets written by the frontiersman who died at the Alamo in Texas.

Daniel Lorello, 54, of Rensselaer, New York, was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and fraud after an alert history buff saw the items posted on the online auction site. The history buff believed the documents were state property and informed authorities, the state attorney general's office said.

The four-page letter from Calhoun drew bids of more than $1,700 while being monitored by investigators.

The attorney general's office has recovered hundreds of other documents that it said were traced to Lorello, an archivist with the Department of Education who has been placed on administrative leave. Officials are trying to determine what may have been sold.

"This individual had access to a wide array of the state library's collection," which includes an original first draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and complete set of autographs from the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

EBay auctions posted by Lorello included a Currier & Ives lithograph that he described as "in excellent condition." The Calhoun letter auction said "100 percent satisfaction is guaranteed."

EBay was cooperating with state officials.

1 comment:

andy said...

The baseball HOF had a similar scandal some years ago. Often, the books that I buy online have the stamp of one library or other and the possibility that some of them may have been 'misappropriated' has crossed my mind. I don't lose any sleep over this however.