I don’t have the whole story or all the facts. That said, if this article is true: they haven’t charged the man, there is no offered evidence as to reasonable suspicion, and there is no explanation given as to what precisely he did wrong. Instead they have taken items worth immeasurable value from a 90 year old man that will take more than his life for them to “catalog.” Just imagine the potential threat to all museums and private owners if it is considered acceptable for officials to take collections just to “verify,” without probable cause for suspicion. It’s incomprehensible. ** DB
“Thousands of Artifacts Seized at Rural Indiana Home”
by Diana Penner via “IndyStar”
“FBI agents Wednesday seized “thousands” of cultural artifacts, including American Indian items, from the private collection of a 91-year-old Rush County man who had acquired them over the past eight decades.
An FBI command vehicle and several tents were spotted at the property in rural Waldron, about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
The man, Don Miller, has not been arrested or charged.
FBI agents are working with art experts and museum curators, and neither they nor Jones would describe a single artifact involved in the investigation, but it is a massive collection. Jones added that cataloging of all of the items found will take longer than “weeks or months.”
“Frankly, overwhelmed,” is how Larry Zimmerman, professor of anthropology and museum studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis described his reaction. “I have never seen a collection like this in my life except in some of the largest museums.”
The monetary value of the items and relics has not been determined, Jones said, but the cultural value is beyond measure. In addition to American Indian objects, the collection includes items from China, Russia, Peru, Haiti, Australia and New Guinea, he said.
The items were found in a main residence, in which Miller lives; a second, unoccupied residence on the property; and in several outbuildings, Jones said. The town originally was Iroquois land.
The objects were not stored to museum standards, Jones said, but it was apparent Miller had made an effort to maintain them well. (more…)