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Detention hearing delayed for alleged document thief

A detention hearing for Barry H. Landau, one of two men charged with stealing dozens of valuable historic documents from archives and museums in New York and Maryland, was postponed Monday so federal investigators can search his Manhattan apartment a second time.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warwick told the court the he expects to find "additional information" necessary in the case. Last week, Warwick said prosecutors were considering new charges against Landau, 63, and were concerned that the defendant had an undiscovered stash of pilfered documents that he would try to sell or destroy if released from jail before trial.

Landau is a well-known collector and claims to have a vast set of presidential memorabilia in his artifact-filled apartment, which has been featured in news stories. It was searched once last month. The second search is expected to occur before Thursday morning. That is when his detention hearing, which will determine whether Landau may be released on bail, is scheduled to resume.

Landau's co-defendant, 24-year-old Jason Savedoff, was released on $250,000 bond last week.

The two men, who live in New York, were charged with conspiracy and the theft of major artwork after an employee of the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore told police he saw Savedoff take a library document.

Police said they later recovered 60 documents belonging to the state archive — including an 1861 land grant signed by Abraham Lincoln — hidden in a laptop case inside a library locker. The men were first charged with theft in state court, then indicted by a federal grand jury last week.

The federal charges include the Maryland allegations along with allegations that include stolen presidential texts and a letter written by Benjamin Franklin, from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park., N.Y., and the New York Historical Society, respectively.

Warwick has said in court that charges of wire fraud, stealing from the National Archives and transferring stolen goods across state lines could be added to the indictment, based on the investigation.

One of Landau's attorneys, Andrew C. White, said Monday that the new apartment search may resolve "some issues" in his client's case and that he expects Landau to ultimately be released on bail.

Landau has had a hard time in federal custody, White told the court. He's being held in an area without air conditioning and has not been given any of his medications, which include heart and kidney stone treatments, since being transferred Friday from state to federal custody.

Air conditioning "is critical to his being able to survive over there," White said. The judge said she would put in a transfer request.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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