The FBI returns 50 stolen museum artifacts.
Hundreds of items taken in the 1970s from museums in various states and dating back to the French and Indian War have been restored to the institutions, according to federal investigators.
The FBI revealed Monday during a ceremony at Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution that 50 pieces had been returned to 17 organizations in five states.
Officials claimed the relics retrieved included an 1847 Mississippi rifle taken from a Mississippi museum, a World War II battlefield pickup pistol stolen from the US Army War College Museum, and 19th century Pennsylvania weapons stolen from Pennsylvania museums.
Michael Corbett of Newark, Delaware, was charged in December 2021 with possessing objects stolen from museums in the 1970s, according to authorities. According to investigators, he pled guilty in August to possession of stolen property transferred interstate and gave over other stolen items.
Authorities stated that among the goods recovered and now restored to their rightful owners were:
- a Colt Whitneyville Walker revolver stolen from the Connecticut State Library;
- an Omar Bradley presentation pistol stolen from the U.S. Army War College Museum;
- a French and Indian War-era powder horn stolen from a museum in Belchertown, Massachusetts; and a Colt Whitneyville Walker revolver stolen from the Connecticut State Library
- A number of 18th century English and Scottish handguns were taken from the Valley Forge Historical Society Museum.
The return of the stolen objects was described as a “rare pleasure” by Jacqueline Maguire, FBI special agent in charge of the Philadelphia office.
“These are objects that helped shape our national story, with some even predating the country’s formation, and their lengthy absence from public view – kept away where no one could see or learn from them – was a loss both to society and the historic record,” Maguire said.