New Bedford Whaling Museum Employee Charged With Allegedly Stealing Artifacts
A New Bedford man faces charges that he allegedly stole dozens of artifacts from the New Bedford Whaling Museum during his employment there as a facilities associate over the past two years.
According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Robert M. Burchell, 42, was arrested by New Bedford Police on January 5 and charged with larceny from a building.
His arrest came about after some of the artifacts Burchell allegedly stole were taken to a West Bridgewater shop, where the owner “tipped off police to his suspicion that the items were rare and likely stolen,” the D.A.’s Office said in a release.
It is alleged that Burchell “stole dozens of pocket-sized items from the museum and sold the artifacts at local antique and pawn shops for cash,” the D.A.’s Office said. The total value of the items is believed to exceed $75,000.
The D.A.s’ Office said most of the items have been returned to the museum, but that the investigation is ongoing and any local pawn shops or antiques dealers are advised to report any suspicious items that may be linked to the Whaling Museum thefts.
Burchell was arraigned on larceny charges on January 6 and was released on $5,000 bail and ordered to stay away from the Whaling Museum and have no contact with its employees.