Tag: heist

There Be Silver in Them There X-rays

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Here’s another bizarre heist. In September a man entered St. Joseph’s Medical Center posing as a representative from an x-ray film destruction company and stole 5,000 x-rays and radiological films. Police assume the man stole the x-rays to extract and sell their silver coating. They do not believe the thief was targeting patients’ personal information.

It’s true that x-ray images contain silver, but the amount used in a single film is negligible and has been decreasing since 1962. The x-rays stolen were from 2004, 2005, and 2007, so it’s likely that he’ll recover an ounce of silver for every ten or twenty pounds of x-rays.

Depending on the size of the films, it can take about fifteen x-rays to make a pound, which would mean our man stole a little over 300 pounds of x-rays, or 15 to 30 ounces of silver. Lately, the price of silver has been hovering $35 an ounce, putting my (rather imprecise) calculation of the total value of the heist at somewhere between $500 and $1,100 — a paltry sum for a heist that includes a disguise, I’d say. But take heart, thief. You can always hold onto it and see if the price goes up.

Remember This Guy?

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Barry Landau, who in July was accused, along with Jason Savedoff, of attempting to steal 60 historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society’s library, and who was later discovered to have paid suspicious visits to several other historical archives in the region, (often with cookies and cupcakes in tow) is back in the news.

After tracing the origins of thousands of documents removed from Landau’s Manhattan apartment, prosecutors have determined that around two hundred of them were obtained illegitimately from American museums and archives. Some may have come from the United Kingdom.

Ironically, Landau is now having a bit of trouble trying to unload valuables. According to a motion filed by his attorneys, Landau is seeking permission to sell off many of his assets, including knick knacks, antiques, and an Andy Warhol print (presumably got at legitimately), claiming that Landau is now broke.

Plot Thickens in Botched Presidential Papers Pilfering

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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.

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