Schenectady County

Ex-state archivist gets prison for stealing artifacts

An archivist convicted of selling stolen state artifacts like an original Currier & Ives lithograph

An archivist convicted of selling stolen state artifacts like an original Currier & Ives lithograph on eBay has been sentenced to two to six years in prison, paid $129,500 in restitution and handed over his personal collection to the state.

“I apologize to the people of the state of New York, especially to my colleagues, whose public trust I violated,” Daniel Lorello said Thursday. He apologized to his family and said he realized the extent of what he’d done. He was led from Albany County Court in handcuffs.

The 55-year-old former archives and records management specialist for the state Department of Education, where he worked for 29 years, pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny in August and was sentenced by Judge Thomas Breslin.

Some 1,600 items have been recovered, and the restitution will be used in part to repay people who bought and gave back some of them, said John Milgrim, spokesman for the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Lorello admitted stealing since 1997, and his personal collection worth an estimated $80,000 will be added to the state’s collection, Milgrim said.

Defense attorney Stanley Segal said New York’s collection could actually expand as a result of the case. Lorello had collected photographs of Civil War soldiers, many from his home state of Maine, and first-edition books, which were turned over.

“Dan was widely regarded as an expert on the Civil War, especially as it had to do with New York state,” Segal said. He couldn’t offer an explanation or specific purpose for Lorello, who hadn’t been in serious trouble before, stealing from the state.

Assistant Attorney General Richard Ernst, who prosecuted Lorello, said he couldn’t recall any similar cases. The investigation was prompted by a Virginia man who alerted authorities after an 1823 letter was offered on eBay. It was a letter from John C. Calhoun to a New York general. Calhoun later became vice president.

Other stolen items were Davy Crockett Almanacs and a Winfield Scott Hancock calling card. Lorello also posted for sale on eBay a Currier & Ives lithograph showing a view from West Point.

New York’s collection has about 200 million items, said education department spokesmanTom Dunn. A recent audit was done, and outside experts were hired to assess security at the State Museum building, which houses the state library and archives. “We are putting their recommendations into place,” he said, declining to say exactly what was done.

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