COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A Maryland man was sentenced for stealing government records and items, and selling them for personal gain. The stolen items included a set of bound dog tags belonging to two soldiers, a father and son who served in WWI and WWII, respectively.
The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland says on Monday, 33-year-old Antonin DeHays, of College Park, was sentenced to 364 days in prison followed followed by three years of supervised release (the first eight months on home detention), as well as 100 hours of community service, for the theft of government records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
According to the plea agreement, beginning in December 2012 and continuing through June 2017, DeHays stole U.S. service members' dog tags and other records from the public research room at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. The items were knowingly converted for DeHays' own use. The 33-year-old stole at least 291 U.S. service members' dog tags and at least 134 other records from the National Archives.
DeHays, a historian, removed two dog tags, one silver and one brass, issued to a downed Tuskegee Airman, who died when his fighter plane crashed in Germany on September 22, 1944. Those items were taken when he visited the National Archives at College Park, on December 9, 2016. Authorities say he also took two dog tags, which belonged to a father and a son who served in World War I and World War II, respectively. The two dogs tags were linked together with a wire loop.
The 33-year-old actions included stealing identification cards, personal letters, photographs, a bible, and pieces of downed U.S. aircraft. He apparently gave a stolen dog tag to a military aviation museum in exchange for the opportunity to sit inside a Spitfire airplane.
He apparently sold various stolen items and records on eBay and elsewhere. In one incident, authorities report that DeHays sent a text message to a potential buyer stating that certain dog tags for sale were "burnt and show some stains of fuel, blood . . . very powerful items that witness the violence of the crash."
DeHays was also ordered to pay $43,456.96 in restitution.
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