FBI searches N.Y. home of jailed memorabilia collector

Federal authorities searched the Manhattan apartment Wednesday of a collector and author charged with stealing documents from the Maryland Historical Society, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Barry H. Landau, 63, and another man continue to sit in the Baltimore City Detention Center, held on no bond. Landau's attorney formally filed a petition for a bail hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court and is awaiting a date.

Landau and 24-year-old Jason Savedoff were arrested Saturday at the Maryland Historical Society after police say the pair tried to steal documents, including one signed by Abraham Lincoln. Baltimore police charged each with one count of theft over $100,000.

Not all of the 60 documents recovered belonged to the historical society, the source said, and investigators were working to determine to whom they belonged. Agents from the FBI and the National Archives were observed this week by a Baltimore Sun reporter at the historical society's Monument Street office.

Late Wednesday Landau's law firm warned against a rush to judgment. "No documents were in Mr. Landau's possession, concealed on his person or in his belongings," said Steven D. Silverman, Landau's attorney, in a statement. "A man of his stature is entitled to due process before a rush to judgment. There is no evidence."

Landau, who lives two blocks south of New York's Central Park on West 57th Street, is said to have the largest private collection of presidential inaugural memorabilia outside of museums of the presidential archives. He was a former White House protocol officer and has connections to New York, Washington and the Hollywood elite.

Asked to confirm whether an apartment was searched at the Hemisphere House, the name of Landau's building, a woman in the management office said they were "not giving any interviews on the subject."

Baltimore FBI spokesman Richard Wolf would not confirm information about the investigation or whether Landau's apartment was searched. "We're taking all the logical steps that we would in a case like this," Wolf said.

Earlier this week, the FBI alerted museums, small libraries and historical societies throughout the region to check whether the pair might have committed similar thefts. On Tuesday, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania confirmed that Landau and Savedoff, who used an alias, had visited more than a dozen times and aroused suspicions with "odd" behavior.

Lee Arnold, senior director of the library and collections at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, said that he and his staff were reviewing numerous "call slips" filled out by Landau and Savedoff during more than a dozen visits to the Philadelphia institution since December.

"We keep those slips forever, and we're looking at those dates to see if anything is amiss," he said.

Such slips must be filled out by anyone seeking to examine the society's archived materials. Arnold said it was impossible to say yet whether anything might be missing, because the manuscript and document folders typically contain many items that are not cataloged individually.




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