Harner[the thief], who hid the papers in his clothing while researching in the archives' downtown Washington headquarters, took letters signed by such figures as Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and George A. Custer.This is heart-attack time, especially when you factor in the civil service reaction:
But authorities said he also stole documents bearing the less well-known but still highly marketable signatures of such people as Armistead and the Confederate generals George Pickett and Ambrose P. Hill.
... the National Archives, which has since beefed up its security, does not keep an "item level" inventory of everything in its holdings. "It's not like a car dealership, where you arrive in the morning and you notice a car's missing from the lot," he said.Cars are identical, replaceable commodities, so yes, it's not exactly a car dealership.
Brachfeld said that in several cases, Harner appears to have cut the signatures off the documents and sold the signatures by themselves to autograph collectors.Pass the smelling salts. Because Harner, who has gotten a slap on the wrist for this, characterizes himself as "a history buff since the 1960s." That would be like a serial killer calling himself a "people person."