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"Priceless," but Not Salable, Central American Pieces Taken in Spite of Gong Ringing


"Nothing new yet" declared Charles R. Apted '06, Superintendent of Caretakers, when questioned last night on the progress of the investigation of the Peabody Museum robbery which occurred last Friday afternoon.

Since museum authorities were unavailable over the weekend, there has as yet been no definite information as to just what was stolen. Lauriston Ward and Frank Orchard, assistant curators, declared, however, that some of the objects taken were "priceless."

Alarm Rings

The theft took place at exactly 4:12 o'clock in the afternoon. The time is known because it was at that point that the buzzer in Apted's office started functioning. Apted immediately dispatched a prowl car, a number of policemen, and some finger print experts.

It is believed that two thieves were at work, for two cases were pried open and ransacked before authorities arrived. Thus the two were opened almost simultaneously.

When the cases were opened, the alarm rang, but that did not worry the robber or robbers, who took a number of Central American art pieces, including jade vessels and gold ornaments.

"Very Pale" Man

The prowl car men were in the museum at 4:17 o'clock, but the fugitives had made their escape by that time. A caretaker of the museum said that he saw a "very pale" man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds, leave the museum. That, so far, is the only clue.

Although the museum was open to the public on Friday, only a small group of visitors and a reduced staff were on hand. The showcases opened were in a third-floor room of the museum on a table.

Hollow Alligators

The objects taken were of the pre-Colombian period, it was revealed. All the pieces were small and could have been concealed in an overcoat. Quite an assortment of things are believed to be missing, including some hollow alligators.

The articles came to the museum about five years ago. They were placed on public display last year for the Tercentenary exhibit and were supposed to be removed from display soon.

Police and art authorities alike believe that the man or men who accomplished the robbery were misled as to the value of the articles. One spokesman declared that he thought that the whole sum of the pieces, if melted together would not bring over 50 dollars.

The theft was the first of art objects since last year, when two Rembrandt sketches were taken from the walls of the Fogg museum.

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