Alleged Beinecke thief meets with judge

This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.
This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.
This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.

Edward Forbes Smiley III, an experienced dealer of antique maps, appeared at a pre-trial conference at the New Haven Superior Court yesterday as part of his ongoing trial for the theft of seven rare maps from the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library in June.

Smiley’s lawyer, Richard Reeve, said he could not comment on Smiley’s conference with the judge. He said another conference is slated for Nov. 16, but no hearing date has been set at the present time.

According to Smiley’s arrest warrant, Beinecke Head of Public Services Ellen Cordes identified Smiley on the library’s register after an Exacto knife blade was found on a reading room floor. The warrant also said Smiley had been captured on Beinecke cameras while fidgeting with the inside of his jacket.

The warrant listed the value of the seven maps at approximately $878,000, a figure calculated by William Reese ’77, a private dealer and Beinecke adviser.

University Librarian Alice Prochaska said Beinecke’s security measures have been reevaluated after the theft raised concerns about its security system.

“We are examining all of our security procedures,” said Prochaska, who declined to specify any details regarding changes made to the library’s security systems.

Yale Police Department Lt. Michael Patten said this is not the first major theft to occur at Yale.

“We’ve had thefts before from libraries and museums at Yale,” Patten said.

Prochaska said nothing is currently missing from the collection, which includes many early, rare manuscripts and books from a variety of disciplines.

The maps are currently being used as evidence but will be returned to Beinecke following the completion of the case.

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