Dealer Stole Rare Maps

Rare map dealer Edward Smiley admits to stealing millions of dollars worth of rare maps from libraries around the country.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Talk about a mapquest. Edward Forbes Smiley III pleaded guilty this week. Mr. Smiley is a map dealer, esteemed among collectors and libraries for locating rare and valuable maps. His secret? He stole them. Mr. Smiley told a federal court in New Haven on Thursday that he stole 97 antique maps over the past seven years, from libraries and collections in New Haven, Boston, New York, Houston, Chicago, and London. The maps are worth more than $3 million.

Mr. Smiley was arrested last June when a surveillance video captured him removing a map from Yale University's Rare Book Library. Police found his Exacto knife on the floor, though he says the knife had nothing to do with that day's theft. Wormholes convicted him. Tiny wormholes on the map exactly matched the books that had contained them. The rarest map he took was a 1524 drawing of the New World by the conquistador Hernan Cortes. Now, that's a map you won't find next to the Slim Jims at a truck stop.

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