Philedelphia: A 40-year-old intern with the National Archives stole about 165 Civil War documents including the War Department’s announcement of President Abraham Lincoln’s death - and sold most of them on eBay, prosecutors have charged.
Philadelphia resident Denning McTague, who runs a website that sells rare books, worked at a National Archives and Records Administration site in the city last summer, prosecutors said.
McTague has helped officials recover most of the missing items and plans to plead guilty, his lawyer said.
The stolen Civil War-era documents include telegrammes concerning the troops’ weaponry and the Lincoln death announcement sent to soldiers.
“These are pieces of American history to be preserved, not sold to the highest bidder,” US Attorney Patrick Meehan said in a statement.
All but a handful of the approximately 165 items stolen have been recovered, his office said.
McTague’s lawyer, Eric Sitarchuk, declined to comment on the value of the items, which was listed only as more than $1,000 (euro756) in court documents.
“He has cooperated fully with the government in obtaining the return of the materials,’’ Sitarchuk said.
McTague holds master’s degrees in history and information systems, and secured the unpaid internship through an affiliation with an unidentified university, the court papers state.