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Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 09/26/2012

Capitol Hill crime wave: Congressional mementos stolen from House offices

Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., is missing a prized collection of license plates. (Charles Dharapak - AP)
Times are tough in this mean city, and Capitol Hill isn’t immune.

There’s a crime wave of sorts plaguing congressional offices, and the goods being lifted aren’t the typical flat-screen TVs or computers one might expect, but rather congressional memorabilia and other tchochkes — which are far more difficult to fence at the neighborhood pawn shop.

The most recent hit took place over the weekend, in the office of Rep. Elton Gallegly. Thieves made off with the California Republican’s prized collection of license plates. He told Roll Call he’d spent 26 years amassing them, and had planned to pass them down to his children.

Vanished, too, was anything in his desk bearing a congressional logo. (Hey, crooks, you can get some of that stuff in the gift shops!)

The heist follows several others earlier this year. Bandits made off with New Jersey Republican Rep. Jon Runyan’s scarf and a collection of Easter eggs signed by first ladies belonging to Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Roll Call reports.

The burglaries seem clustered in the Rayburn House Office Building, and the lack of smashed windows or broken locks suggests an inside job — perhaps someone with master keys. Capitol Hill police say they’re on the case.

By  |  01:57 PM ET, 09/26/2012

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