Police Nab Alleged Bug Thief

Harvard police last week arrested a volunteer in the Museum of the Comparative Zoology on charges that he stole parts of exhibits, as well as the personal property of museum employees, Lt. John F. Rooney said yesterday.

The volunteer, Gary P. Dahlstrom, 28, was detained by University police detectives Richard Estes and Richard Mederos as he arrived on an Amtrak train from Florida at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Rooney said Harvard police acted on a tip that Dahlstrom would arrive from Florida.

Police recovered samples of rare insects and other exhibits the suspect had allegedly taken from the museum, Rooney said. The value of the stolen exhibits was not known.

The personal property of museum employees was also seized. In addition, police recovered a camera valued at $6,000. Rooney said he did not know whether the camera belonged to the museum or to an employee.

Professor of Biological Oceanography James J. McCarthy, who is director of the museum, did not return a phone call yesterday. Jay L. Taft, director of administration for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, also did not return phone calls.


It was the second time this year that University police have nabbed museum workers for allegedly robbing the campus museums.

In May, police arrested James Arthur Hogue, a Harvard Extension School student who had previously been convicted of a felony, for allegedly stealing an estimated $100,000 in precious gems, minerals and other property from the Harvard University Mineralogical Museum.

Hogue had stockpiled a cache of gold, silver, rubies, opals and other gems in his Somerville home. He had previously enrolled at Princeton University under an alias. He has been arraigned in Somerville District Court and is awaiting trial