Documents stolen

It appears one patron of Bailey/Howe did not visit the check-out desk. The Bailey/Howe library was contacted by the National Archives group in mid-August and asked to examine Special Collections for items that may have been targeted for theft. “At this point, we have identified 67 missing items, but we are still checking,” said Jeffrey Marshall, director of research collections. The documents were found among hundreds of documents from various universities in the apartment of Barry Landau, a New Yorker accused of conspiring to steal rare documents to sell for a profit, according to the Burlington Free Press. Most of the documents taken from Bailey/Howe included autographs from President’s Theodore Rooselvelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft. “They are not a great deal of research value, but because they are signed by a president, they do have some monetary value,” he said. When asked whether Landau visited Bailey/Howe, Marshall said he had no comment because state law and library policy protects the confidentiality of library users. Right now, the library staff is reviewing their procedures and investigating technology that might improve security, he said. “Part of our challenge is that we have a large open stack section that mixes with those looking in the private stacks,” Marshall said. “It get’s pretty chaotic sometimes. We try to watch closely.” Since the incident, the library is now requiring users to show a valid ID. Marshall said that the staff was discouraged about what happened because they are there to help. “We’re all very disappointed,” he said. “We exist to help people with their research.  We try as much as we can to make their work easier, but when something like this happens, we feel betrayed.” During the court procedures for Landau, prosecutors said that UVM was a target for the suspects because of its lack of security, the Wall Street Journal stated. “At some extremes, there’s no watchdog” at archival institutions,” Robert Goldman, a former federal prosecutor specialized in document and art related theft, told the Wall Street Journal. “A person comes in and is given the keys to the kingdom.” Some students said they were surprised that Bailey/Howe housed documents were worth stealing in the first place. “I definitely had no idea that UVM had documents that important,” sophomore Colby Daniels said. “Why are they even at UVM?”  Marshall said that the FBI will be returning the documents to Bailey/Howe’s shelves, but he does not know when.