Former New Bedford Whaling Museum worker indicted for stealing more than $150,000 in artifacts: Police

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A former worker at the New Bedford Whaling Museum has been indicted for stealing museum artifacts worth more than $150,000, according to the Bristol District Attorney’s Office.

Robert Burchell, 42, was arrested earlier this year for allegedly stealing artifacts from the museum. The Bristol DA’s Office announced that he has now been indicted by a grand jury on 19 counts of larceny over $1,200.

New Bedford police arrested him on Jan. 5, and charged him with larceny from a building. Burchell had been employed as a facilities associate at the museum for the past two years.

He allegedly stole dozens of pocket-sized items from the museum, and sold the artifacts at local antique and pawn shops for cash. A shop owner in West Bridgewater, who bought some of the artifacts from Burchell, tipped off police that the items were rare and likely stolen.

Burchell was initially arraigned on larceny charges in New Bedford District Court on Jan. 6. The judge imposed a cash bail of $5,000, and ordered Burchell to stay away from the museum and have no contact with museum employees.

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