ACW document theft

The big Civil War news today is that a volunteer working in the National Archives stole 165 ACW documents and sold them on eBay. They say he was a cultured man recommended to the archives by a university.

An incompetent news story was filed with the Associated Press and is being run nationally ("The office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said that all but a handful of the items have been recovered.").

Thanks to a press release, we learn the exact count - that 161 of the 165 documents were recovered. We don't know which ones are missing or if the count represents the sum total of thieving.

Computerworld had sense enough to look up the seller's eBay satisfaction rating and found it at 100%. They also found the accused thief's website. This is the kind of color reporters used to build into reporting before they became less informative than a press release.

More details are available from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philly's Daily News augmented the flimsy AP report.

We are living in a society that struggles (unsuccessfully) every day to understand that pederasts volunteer to work with children, pyromaniacs join fire brigades, and thieves offer to work with rare objects. Each new lesson somehow fails to stick.