Police: Pilfered pin sold for $68

 

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Police: Pilfered pin sold for $68

Suspect charged in museum theft

Dave Hughes – April 24, 2018

FORT SMITH — Police say a handyman at the Fort Smith Museum of History stole Judge Isaac C. Parker’s gold-and-diamond lizard-shaped pin from a display case and sold it at a rare-coin dealer shop four blocks away for $68.50.

Mark Craig Stevens, 58, of Fort Smith has been charged with theft of the pin and is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge Wednesday in Sebastian County Circuit Court. Stevens was free on bond, according to court records.

Theft is a Class D felony punishable by up to six years in prison.

The criminal complaint filed against Stevens alleges he stole the pin March 7 and sold it the same day at the DBKJ Numismatics rare coin and currency shop at 711 Garrison Ave. The museum is at 320 Rogers Ave.

A police report said the pin had a replacement value of $1,500, although a police affidavit said two local jewelers valued the piece at $2,478 and $1,895.

Museum Executive Director Leisa Gramlich told police she discovered March 22 that the 1¼-by-1½-inch pin was missing. The pin – a gift to the 19th-century federal judge from his wife, Mary – was one of the few personal possessions of Parker’s in the museum’s collection.

Gramlich noticed that a display case containing the pin was moved slightly from the wall. Investigating, she found that the hasp of the cabinet lock had been pried loose and that the pin was gone.

Two days later, after the story of the stolen pin appeared in the press, Tamara Masters with DBKJ Numismatics contacted Gramlich by email to report the store had the pin, and it was returned to the museum.

Masters told police that Stevens was waiting at the door of the shop when she arrived on March 7 and that he sold the pin for $68.50. The police report said she knew him by sight and had dealt with him on several occasions, and that he did odd jobs at the shop.

Gramlich told police that Stevens had worked at the museum on March 7, changing light bulbs. She produced a copy of the check given to Stevens that day for the work.

A warrant charging Stevens initially with theft by receiving was issued on April 12, and he was arrested the next day at the home of an acquaintance in north Fort Smith. The charge was amended to theft when the case was transferred from district to circuit court.

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Parker, known as the “Hanging Judge,” presided over the federal court in Fort Smith from 1875 to 1896, during which time he condemned 160 men and four women to hang, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Of that number, 79 were executed.

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