Daniel Lorello of Rensselaer, New York, has been arrested and charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property, and fraud for allegedly stealing historic documents from government owned archives and auctioning off the materials on eBay. Purloined items included an 1823 letter from Vice President John C. Calhoun, copies of the Davy Crocket Almanacs, a Poor Richard’s Almanac, a Courier & Ives lithograph, and an 1865 railroad timetable for Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train.
Lorello, age 54, pleaded not guilty at Albany City Court on Monday, although he previously admitted in a written statement to stealing documents and artifacts going back to 2002. Lorello said he took as many as 400 items in 2007 alone; investigators reported recovering some 400 items from Lorello’s home, although it’s not certain how many items he managed to sell online before a history buff tipped off authorities.
Lorello is an archivist for the New York department of education. He said he sold the items to pay household bills.
“These irreplaceable documents are the property of all New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Cuomo, in a statement. “Public employees with access to records of New York State’s vibrant history are trusted curators who must not abuse their power for personal gain.”
The New York State Library, from which the items were stolen, contains more than 20 million items, including complete set of autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, manuscripts of George Washington’s farewell address, a first draft of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and an extensive set of materials regarding Theodore Roosevelt.