Arrest Made in Document Thefts

Charles Davis writes The following article appeared in the November 2001 issue of American
Libraries, p. 32.

Arrest Made in Document Thefts

A University of Wisconsin/Madison student has been arrested on charges he stole signatures of
early American figures while he was working at a Yale University library over the summer.
Benjamin W. Johnson, 21, allegedly stole and sold about 70 documents bearing the signatures
of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other historical figures.

Accoring to an October 10 Associated Press report, Johnson also faces charges in Connecticut
of first-degree larceny and first-degree criminal mischief. Catherine Barnes, president of the
Professional Autograph Dealers Association, told police she paid Johnson $3,750 for
Washington\'s signature September 6 after Johnson contacted her via e-mail. Barnes said
Johnson told her that he had inherited the documents from his father and uncle, who collected
presidential autographs. Capitol Police Detective Ed Bardon told reporters that Johnson\'s father
still works at Yale.

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