By Ray Downs – UPI
A Maryland man was sentenced to 364 days in prison this week for stealing World War II-era dog tags from the National Archives and selling them on eBay.
Antonin DeHays, 33, pleaded guilty in January to theft of government records and admitted to stealing at least 291 U.S. service members’ dog tags and at least 134 other records from the National Archives at College Park, Md. between 2012 and 2017.
“For example, on December 9, 2016, DeHays visited the National Archives at College Park and stole 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,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
DeHays also stole identification cards, personal letters, photographs, a bible and pieces of downed U.S. aircraft.
The Justice Department said DeHays kept some of the dog tags and records for his personal collection but sold the majority of the items.
“Before selling the dog tags, DeHays sometimes removed from the dog tags markings made in pencil which could have been used to identify the dog tags as having been stolen from the National Archives,” the Justice Department said. “On one occasion, 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.'”
In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang ordered DeHays to serve 100 hours of community service and pay back $43,456.96 in restitution.