Prosecutors: Historian charged with theft of government records

GREENBELT, MD. —  A historian was charged Tuesday in federal district court in Greenbelt, Maryland with with theft of government records from the National Archives in College Park.

Between in or around October 2015 and June 2017, court documents say Antonin DeHays, 32, visited visited the National Archives Building and stole dog tags and other documents belonging to U.S. servicemen whose planes had crashed during World War II.

Prosecutors say DeHays sold the stolen tags on eBay and in at least one occasion, he gave a stolen dog tag assigned to a Tuskegee Airman to a museum in Virginia, in exchange for an opportunity to sit inside a Spitfire airplane.

Then on June 9, 2017, investigators searched DeHays’ home and they say they seized six dog tags and other documents that had been stolen from the National Archives at College Park.

“The theft of our history should anger any citizen, but as a veteran I am shocked at allegations that a historian would show such disregard for records and artifacts documenting those captured or killed in World War II,”  said David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. ” Although we have increased our security measures in recent years, this case highlights the constant threat our records and artifacts face and why the security of the holdings of the National Archives is my highest priority.”

If convicted, DeHays faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.