Libraries Suspect Smiley in More Map Thefts

More from the Hartford Courant on the libraries’ growing belief that Forbes Smiley may not have fessed up to all the maps he stole from them. In a nutshell (and as covered previously here), the libraries’ post-arrest inventories turned up missing maps that have not been accounted for by the FBI investigation or by Smiley’s cooperation. The libraries believe that Smiley was responsible for those thefts as well; Smiley’s lawyer insists that his client has cooperated fully and that the libraries are looking for a scapegoat — for other map thieves or for poor recordkeeping. Either scenario seems plausible to me.

The evidence pointing to Smiley is circumstantial at best. Copies of seven maps Yale found missing from Sterling Memorial Library appear on Smiley’s website, including a 1776 map of Boston under British siege that Smiley says he sold for $110,000. Though the copies Smiley handled are extremely rare, the FBI apparently found no proof they were stolen from Yale.
The British Library and Harvard can prove Smiley looked at all the rare books in which maps have been found stolen. The problem lies in proving the maps were there when Smiley pulled the books.

For more on the libraries’ missing maps, see the following previous entries: Yale’s Missing Maps; Is Forbes Smiley Getting Off Easy?; Forbes Smiley Case: Harvard Crimson Coverage; Three Missing British Maps Still Missing.

Meanwhile, Tony Campbell has posted a copy of the U.S. attorney’s press release about Smiley’s guilty plea. See previous entry: Forbes Smiley Case: Court Documents.