Former New Bedford Whaling Museum Employee Indicted for Theft of Artifacts
The New Bedford man who allegedly stole over $150,000 worth of artifacts from the New Bedford Whaling Museum while previously employed there has been indicted and will be arraigned early next month.
According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Robert M. Burchell, 42, has been indicted by a Bristol County Grand Jury on 19 counts of larceny over $1,200. He will be arraigned in Fall River District Court on April 7.
Burchell was arrested on January 5 and charged with larceny from a building after a West Bridgewater shop owner tipped off police that items Burchell had brought into his store were rare and likely stolen.
The subsequent investigation led prosecutors to allege that Burchell “had stolen dozens of pocket-sized items from the museum” over the two years he was employed there as a facilities associate, and that he allegedly “sold the artifacts at local antique and pawn shops for cash.”
The D.A.’s Office said Burchell was initially arraigned on larceny charges in New Bedford District Court on January 6, and that the court imposed a cash bail of $5,000 and ordered Burchell to stay away from the museum and have no contact with any of its employees.
Most items have been returned to the museum, the D.A.’s Office said, but the investigation continues.