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After guilty plea from collector, a hunt for stolen documents’ owners

A guilty plea from a presidential memorabilia collector and author in a scheme to steal from unsuspecting archives for profit leaves investigators with a hunt for the owners of thousands of documents.

More than 10,000 documents were seized from Barry Landau’s Manhattan apartment over the summer and 4,000 have been traced to repositories throughout the United States. Landau and his assistant, Jason Savedoff, have both pleaded guilty theft of major artwork and conspiracy and face years behind bars and fines at sentencing.

National Archives Inspector General Paul Brachfeld says he looks forward to getting Landau’s help finding the rightful owners. He says investigators may then post the remaining documents digitally and allow archivists and others who may have been victims to view them in a controlled reverse “Antiques Roadshow.”