Federal authorities say dozens of artifacts stolen in the 1970s from museums in several states and dating back as far as the French and Indian War have been returned to the institutions.
The FBI announced Monday at a ceremony at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia that 50 items had been repatriated to 17 institutions in five states.
The artifacts returned included an 1847 Mississippi rifle stolen from a Mississippi museum, a World War II battlefield pickup pistol belonging to General Omar Bradley – stolen from the U.S. Army War College Museum – and 19th century Pennsylvania rifles stolen from Pennsylvania museums, officials said.
Authorities said Michael Corbett of Newark, Delaware, was indicted in December 2021 for possession of items stolen from museums in the 1970s. In August, he pleaded guilty to possession of stolen items transported interstate and turned over additional stolen items, authorities said.
Officials said the items recovered and now returned to their proper owners included:
- a Colt Whitneyville Walker revolver stolen from the Connecticut State Library;
- an Omar Bradley presentation pistol stolen from the U.S. Army War College Museum;
- a French and Indian War-era powder horn stolen from a museum in Belchertown, Massachusetts; and
- a number of 18th century English and Scottish pistols stolen from the Valley Forge Historical Society Museum.
Jacqueline Maguire, FBI special agent in charge of the Philadelphia office, called it “a rare privilege” to be part of the ceremony returning the stolen items.
“These are artifacts that helped write our national story, with some even predating the country’s birth, and their long absence from public view – hidden away where no one could see or learn from them – was a loss both to society and the historic record,” Maguire said.
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