Stolen artifacts returned to Connecticut Historical Society - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Stolen artifacts returned to Connecticut Historical Society


The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford is one of dozens of institutions from which valuable documents were stolen by Barry Landau and an associate, both of whom have been convicted of the crime.

"And we actually were not hit as hard as some of the other institutions which lost hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of documents," said Richard Malley of Connecticut Historical Society.

The thieves had visited Hartford four times four times last year and when news of their arrest came out, that's when officials from the Connecticut Historical Society checked their records.

"And so that's when we determined that we had lost certain items that they had been looking at," Malley said.

Among the items taken from Hartford was a letter signed by John Hancock in June of 1776, which was written about three weeks before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

"That signature just jumps right out and looks remarkably like the signature on the declaration," Malley said while looking at the document.

Another stolen document was signed by George Washington and Malley said there is a more than monetary value on these items. 

"It's clearly historical value," he said.

The value of all the items stolen across the country comes to more than $2.5 million.

Since the incident, the Connecticut Historical Society has tightened their security, but the officials at the society still want their collection to be open to the public.

"But if we can't make the material accessible, what's the point of having it in the first place," Malley said.

Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.