More details have surfaced regarding the recent arrests of Barry Landau, presidential memorabilia enthusiast, and Jason Savedoff, his 24-year-old sidekick after their alleged attempt to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of documents from the Maryland Historical Society. According to an article in The Sun, the pair presented employees of the MDHS with cupcakes upon their arrival. Staff even refer to Saturday’s attempted theft as the Great Cupcake Caper. Other regional archives now report having been visited by the duo and being showered with cookies.
But the investigation has uncovered more than the use of distracting desserts. On the pair’s many suspicious visits to historical libraries, they have employed aliases, a fictitious uncle/nephew relationship, and a false address and email address. The only thing the story is missing at this point is a fake mustache and a monocle. (The investigation is still underway, so I haven’t given up hope.)
The humor of the situation is likely lost on Landau and Savedoff, who are currently being held without bond, a decision Landau’s lawyer calls “outrageous.” According to The Atlantic Wire, Landau is said to have the largest collection of presidential memorabilia outside a museum. He has served on every presidential Inaugural Committee since 1965. He even got to know the Clintons so well that he was called on for puppy playdates with their dog Buddy.
Libraries that Landau and Savedoff are known to have visited are currently combing their archives to see if anything is missing. As an outsider, it strikes me as odd that checked-out documents wouldn’t be accounted for after each visit, but apparently most historical archives are woefully understaffed.
Alas, it doesn’t seem likely that the Maryland Historical Society will be growing their staff or beefing up security any time soon, and so this most recent theft scare may simply mean that the public will eventually enjoy much less access to these archives. At that point, the joke will have worn thin for all of us.