College Freshman Emancipates Abraham Lincoln's Autograph
PerpPlexity is a periodical celebration of criminals who have yet to reach the mastermind status — we'll settle for asking them to simply think the next time.
Most of us know you're not even allowed to touch the stuff in the museum.
Modest and tamely-named William Scott enrolled at the Methodist-affiliated Drew University in New Jersey last fall. His fascination with historical documents landed him a job at the school's United Methodist Archives Center. What he didn't tell his bosses when being interviewed is that he also had an unfulfilled fascination with stealing historical documents and selling them overseas. Most conventional applications these days do not explicitly ask this question.
The freshman who also played varsity lacrosse for the university bogarted at least 21 precious documents (PDF), some appraised as valuable as $12,000, which were letters signed by six U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and FDR, as well as former China First Lady Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. And he might've pulled off the grand letter larceny and retired to his own tropical island had he not sent them to a dealer in England rather slovenly (damaging a couple docs in the process), who in turn became suspicious and contacted the UMAC about them.
Next time, Mr. Scott, try Pawn Stars. But he may not get that chance for a while. He faces up to 10 years after being charged with theft of an object of cultural heritage from a museum.