Felony Charges for History Thief

Hollywood would have us think that every robbery involves large sums of money, daring escapes from law enforcement and dastardly but good-looking criminals. In real life, though, everyday thefts play out under much more mundane – and sometimes more bizarre – circumstances, but still make for exciting criminal cases.

Computerworld.com reports that Daniel Lorello was recently arrested for crimes that were somewhat less exciting than those depicted in Ocean’s 11 but certainly more interesting than the holdup of a convenience store.

Lorello, an archives and records management specialist for New York’s Department of Cultural Education, allegedly stole hundreds of historic documents from New York’s archives and either sold them to collectors or auctioned them off on eBay.

Sources indicate that Lorello has confessed to requesting archive items from the system’s online database and then smuggling them out among his papers at the end of the day. Apparently, none of Lorello’s coworkers ever questioned him or suspected him of stealing the documents.

So how was he found out?

Well, an Internet auction site evidently isn’t the best place to advertise the sale of stolen goods.

According to reports, Joseph Romito, a Virginia lawyer and history buff was perusing eBay when he noticed a signed letter from John C. Calhoun, former Vice President of the United States, for sale. The letter, which dated from 1823, interested Romito for a number of reasons.

First, it was an unusual item to see on eBay. Second, when Romito researched the letter’s history, he found that it was listed as being kept in New York State’s archives. Suspicious about the seller’s means of obtaining the document, Romito reportedly called the New York State Library to alert the proper authorities of the auction.

Once savvy to the game, the NY Attorney General’s Office bid on the letter to assure no one else would win it, sources report. And once that was out of the way, Lorello was reportedly arrested and charged with third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and first-degree scheme to defraud, all of which are felonies.

p>Besides the Calhoun letter, Lorello evidently stole and sold (or attempted to sell) The Davy Crockett Almanack, Currier & Ives colored lithographs and a calling card from a Civil War General for the Union Army.

The Attorney General for New York State has allegedly announced that he plans to prosecute Lorello as he would anyone who attempted to steal the common history shared by residents of New York State. The AG apparently made statements indicating that those in positions of trust are wrong to use public property for personal gain.

Early estimates suggest that Lorello’s scheme was going on for six years, which means plenty of work lies ahead of investigators. Sources indicate that law enforcement officials are currently in the process of determining what items were sold on eBay – and how to get them back.

Lorello has been placed on administrative leave from his position until the investigation concludes.