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Museum thief, 78, gets one day imprisonment, years after stealing antique gun



Museum thief, 78, gets one day imprisonment, years after stealing antique gun

78 yr previous vintage thief, Thomas Gavin has been sentenced to a day imprisonment a long time after stealing an vintage gun from a US museum.

When questioned, he admitted to dozens of different robberies within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies and apologised for the difficulty he has precipitated saying he likes “gathering” previous issues.


As a part of his plea, Mr Gavin admitted that he stole an vintage rifle, crafted by a grasp gunsmith in 1775, from the Valley Forge State Park Museum in 1971.

The Christian Oerter rifle is considered one of solely two such rifles recognized to have survived with its authentic flint mechanism that bears the maker’s title, place and date of manufacture. It’s value greater than $175,000 (£131,000). The rifle dates again to the US revolutionary battle 



The FBI discovered Gavin after he tried to promote the rifle and different stolen objects to an antiques vendor in July 2018.


The vendor later informed reporters he realised the rifle was stolen after seeing it talked about in a 1980 e-book written by an vintage rifle knowledgeable.

In July, Mr Gavin – a resident of Pottsville, Pennsylvania – pleaded responsible to disposal of an object of cultural heritage stolen from a museum.

“Stealing an artefact from a museum – actually a bit of American historical past – is a severe federal offense,” US Legal professional Jennifer Arbittier Williams mentioned in an announcement. “After 4 a long time, justice lastly caught up with this defendant.”

Along with his day behind bars, Mr Gavin was sentenced to 3 years of supervised launch, together with one yr of dwelling confinement, in addition to a $25,000 wonderful and a $23,385 restitution cost.

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When questioned by the FBI in February 2020, Mr Gavin admitted to stealing the rifle, along with different vintage 18th and Nineteenth-century rifles from museums throughout the state.


The choose this week, nevertheless, famous that the statute of limitations on most of the thefts had already handed. In different instances, the stolen objects are value lower than the $5,000 threshold wanted for federal costs.

Showing in court docket on Tuesday, November 23, the 78-year-old who’s now in a wheelchair mentioned;

“I am sorry for all this bother.” 

 “I by no means actually considered it again then, and now it is all come out.”

His lawyer characterised Gavin as “a collector of all method of previous issues”, noting his barn is “jammed full” of vintage items.

“Whether or not he’s thought of a collector or a hoarder, revenue was not his motivation.”

In July, KT Newton, the assistant US legal professional who prosecuted the case, was quoted by the New York Instances as saying vintage thefts are sometimes a “phenomenon”.


“In my expertise prosecuting most of these instances, oftentimes it is that these people simply wish to have the factor,” she mentioned. “Their obsession is that they wish to have them and they also take them.”