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Man charged with stealing Kennedy memorabilia

From Michele Loschiavo

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Sotheby's Holdings Incorporated
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Manhattan (New York)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Queens, New York, man has been charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, including several personal items that once belonged to John F. Kennedy Jr., a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office told CNN Wednesday.

Peter Gallagher, 50, is currently suspended from his position as a warehouse worker at Sotheby's auction house. He's accused of stealing 35 items from a Sotheby's Manhattan warehouse last January.

The items include a 1963 Father's Day card Kennedy made for his father, President John F. Kennedy; a copy of "John Brown's Body" inscribed with a message from Jacqueline Kennedy to her son; and several telegrams to President Kennedy from various dignitaries.

Other items include limited edition copies of President Kennedy's inaugural address.

Prosecutors allege that Gallagher sold the items to a friend for $5,000.

"We have, of course, been extremely concerned and disappointed to learn about this highly unusual and unfortunate situation," said Diana Phillips, senior vice president of Sotheby's. "As we take the security of the property of all of our clients very seriously, and the employee in question is someone who has been with Sotheby's for over 17 years, we are cooperating fully with the investigation."

The items have been recovered and are being held as evidence by the district attorney's office.

They belong to Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, sister of John F. Kennedy Jr., who died when his plane crashed in July, 1999.

Gallagher's bail has been set at $5,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

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