Barry H. Landau has rubbed elbows with presidents, helped plan inaugurations, and claims one of the largest collections of Oval Office memorabilia outside museums and presidential libraries. His Manhattan apartment includes a collection of china from Thomas Jefferson's inauguration and a picture of himself kissing John F. Kennedy's dog Clipper.
Police say he tried to expand that collection by pilfering dozens of rare documents from the Maryland Historical Society on Saturday. Landau, whose connections reportedly bridge the Washington, New York and Hollywood elite, now sits in Central Booking and is being held without bail.
The artifacts police say he and 24-year-old Jason Savedoff tried to take during a Saturday of reviewing historical papers at the Monument Street nonprofit's archives include documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, presidential inaugural ball invitations and programs, a commemoration of the Statue of Liberty, and a commemoration of the Washington Monument.
The items range in value from $100,000 to $500,000, and are just four of the 60 documents police say the men planned to steal, meaning the total value could be in the millions.
The FBI is investigating the case with the Baltimore Police Department. The historical society declined to talk about the case, saying the investigation was continuing.
"We're working closely with law enforcement agencies on this, and I'm not at liberty right now to talk about the case any further than that," said Burt Kummerow, president of the Maryland Historical Society.
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