A map dealer who stole $3 million in maps from some of the world’s finest libraries was sentenced Wednesday in New Haven, Conn., to 3 ½ years in prison. E. Forbes Smiley III, 50, stole as many as 100 rare maps from Yale University and the other libraries to support a lavish lifestyle, reports the Hartford Courant. He was ordered to pay $1.9 million restitution to map dealers and collectors who unwittingly bought the stolen goods.
His eight-year theft spree ended in 2005 when a Yale librarian found an X-acto blade on the floor near Smiley. In his coat and briefcase police found maps that he had cut out of books. Smiley cooperated with the FBI in recovering many of the maps he had sold, which helped reduce his sentence. Library officials say the case changed forever the old system of open access to rare documents at research institutions.