Updated: Friday, 09 Nov 2012, 6:25 PM EST
Published : Friday, 09 Nov 2012, 6:09 PM EST
LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - In 2006, Michael and Roy Ortiz were arrested for a series of thefts at western New York museums. Some of the items were recovered after they were sold on eBay.
Now they are accused of stealing from a museum in Monroe County. That has museums in our area taking action, sending out a warning to watch out for the pair.
"We have a notice on the bulletin board as well as behind the register of Mr. Ortiz because he has been seen at three other museums in the past month and the employee wasn't positive, but was pretty sure it was him. So he got the license plate, the make of the car, and he stayed with him while he toured around," said Melissa Dunlap, executive director of the Niagara County Historical Society.
The man that signed in at the historical society identified himself as "Todd Kelso." He was said to be between 5'5" and 5'6" with a higher voice.
The two suspects have been coming to museums towards the end of the day, when they know there is not a whole lot of staff on duty. One will engage the staff while the other person is left alone.
Donna Zellner Neal, executive director of the North Tonawanda History Museum, has been sending out the warning e-mails, making sure other museum workers are on the lookout.
"We were really concerned that all the ones that don't get the same lists that we get wouldn't know about it. Plus we work with a lot of antique businesses. Antique people have the same type of things you have in a museum," Neal explained.
Often times, the pair are interested in Civil War memorabilia. These pieces can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars.
"To a museum it's irreplaceable. You can't put a value on it because it's usually one of a kind things that you can't replace," said Neal.
The museums are also taking added measures with surveillance and increased staff, so there is always someone around to keep an eye out.