vrijdag 16 mei 2014

De archiefdief doet het in het depot

Zo'n twee jaar geleden schreef ik verschillende keren over de archiefdief Barry Landau, die zijn hele New Yorkse appartement vol had liggen met waardevolle archiefstukken. In september vorig jaar werd in Canada John Mark Tillmann veroordeeld tot negen jaar celstraf wegens diefstal en fraude. De aantallen die Tillmann gestolen heeft zijn onvoorstelbaar:
In late October, RCMP Constable Darryl Morgan, the lead investigator, and other officers visited Mr. Tillmann in jail, spending days looking at photographs of stolen paintings, documents, antique tools, glassware, old books, and furniture that they recovered, but had no clue where they were from.
Now, Constable Morgan and his partner, Tracey Chambers, are undoing Mr. Tillmann’s work, spending their days travelling the Maritimes, visiting antique stores, volunteer-run country museums, universities and even the legislature to return some of the 7,000 artifacts found in Mr. Tillmann’s Halifax home.
So far about 2,000 pieces have been identified – and several hundred items returned.
Op deze kaart staan de grootste diefstallen geprojecteerd.
Tillmann stal niet alleen boeken en archiefstukken, maar ook schilderijen en het harnas dat hierboven afgebeeld staat. En nog meer rare dingen:
Unlike the elaborate art heists of Hollywood movies, targeting the rarest and most expensive artifacts, Tillmann’s thefts tended instead to be less extravagant and unusual in choice: a lemon squeezer, a nutmeg grinder, a brass telescope, a vintage wooden hockey table, a door, an Austrian water pitcher, a water pump, a steam engine, a geometric rug, a wooden apple barrel, a set of old wooden skis, and an old stove. His regular targets were museums, provincial and university archives, small-town antique shops, general stores and, in some instances, the very people he sold artifacts to. 
De modus operandi van Tillmann was redelijk simpel:
 Tillmann typically used younger women as his accomplices, but his first partner-in-crime 20 years ago, he says, was his mother, Noreen Gregory. “Being a little old lady, she was trustworthy,” Tillmann says. “My mother would take [shopkeepers] into another room and they’d be so busy engaged in conversation that I could have walked out with probably whatever I wanted.” 
Maar hij deed het, samen met zijn vriendin, ook wel eens op de Hollywood manier:
The pair also stole a letter written in 1758 by General James Wolfe, the victor at the Plains of Abraham, from the Dalhousie University archives. Mr. Tillmann explains that he was able to copy a set of keys that opened a vault in the university’s library. He and Katya hid in the women’s bathroom until the night security guard left and used the keys to get into the vault, which was jammed with documents. After two hours of searching, around 3 a.m., they hit “pay dirt.”
“I said, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, if this is real’ – and it looked all real, [it] was the George Washington letter, worth probably half a million to a million dollars in itself. … And I thought, ‘Oh wow.’”
Rooting around further, they found the Wolfe letter.
“We became so exuberant over this – because it was pretty euphoric being in there and knowing at that point that you have millions of dollars worth of documents on the black market – that we ended up having sex right in the middle of all these papers and stuff strewn around,” he recalls. 
In een film is dit volstrekt ongeloofwaardig, maar, om met Reve te spreken:

"De werkelijkheid herken je aan haar onwaarschijnlijkheid."

Gerelateerd
7 jaar voor diefstal van archiefstukken
La vie sexuelle de l'archiviste
Wat doet Ingrid (van Henk) in het archief?

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie plaatsen