Former National Archives worker who sold treasured recordings to be sentenced
By By Peter Hermann
May 03, 2012 at 7:13 AM
A former 40-year veteran employee of the National Archives who admitted stealing historical treasures, including Herbert Morison's report of the 1937 Hindenburg crash and a Bob Hope performance, is to be sentenced today.
Prosecutors said that among the items he stole was a 1937 recording of Babe Ruth's voice on a hunting trip. The prosecutors say in court document he sold the recording on the Internet site e-Bay for $34.74.
The court appearance for Leslie Waffen is scheduled for 10 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Prosecutors plan to make a few of the items he stole available for public display for the media after the hearing.
Waffen, who lives in Rockville, worked for the National Archives, preserving and cataloging items, from July 1969 through June 3 2010. One of his jobs, according to prosecutors, was to enforce government rules on the accessibility of records.
Waffen responsible for cataloging a donation of 3,000 original recordings from CBS, NBC and the Mutual Radio Network. In his plea agreement filed in court, Waffen admitted that he stole recordings over an eight year period and sold many on e-Bay.
Authorities said they searched hs home and found 6,153 recordings, of which 935 belonged to the archives.
The case is the second one involving major theft of national treasures in the Baltimore and Washington areas. Barry Landau is scheduled to be sentenced in June for stealing thousands of cultural treasures from libraries and historical societies up and down the east coast. The New Yorker was arrested in Baltimore when he and an accomplice were caught at the Maryland Historical Society.