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Police looking for help in identifying stolen property

STANFORD -- Stolen Indian stone carvings, rare books and photographs, medals, pipes, and antique clocks were among the unusual items put on display by Stanford police April 29, four days after they were recovered from the home of a former Stanford employee.

Stephen Crawford, who worked the night shift as a security guard on campus during the mid-1970s, was arrested April 25 at his Gilroy, Calif., residence, after an informant told police about the items. He was booked on five counts of possession of stolen property and one count of possession of hashish, and was later freed on $25,000 bail.

During his time at Stanford, Crawford had keys to numerous campus buildings, and police believe he may have taken many of the things from professors' offices. Other items were reported stolen over the years from the Department of Anthropology and from the rare book section of the Stanford University Libraries.

The haul includes a number of black argilite sculptures made by Haida Indians from the Queen Charlotte Islands, off British Columbia; some 19th-century framed photographs apparently taken in South America, a human skull, a small leather saddlebag, a crystal bowl that may once have been in the Stanfords' personal collection, some Hoover Institution medallions, a whalebone sword, an eight- by-four-foot tapestry, antique clocks and carved smoking pipes.

One of the most intriguing items is a walking stick, carved in the form of a snake, which reportedlyly was presented to Leland Stanford by the Chinese ambassador, according to Stanford police Capt. Raoul Niemeyer.

More than 280 rare books also were recovered from the house, including leather-bound Latin texts dating to the 1500s. None of the items has been appraised yet.

Niemeyer said there appeared to be no common theme linking the items. Crawford apparently "just liked old things," he said.

The Stanford Department of Public Safety will be issuing a complete list of the recovered items to all campus departments in the coming weeks. Those who feel they may be able to identify some of them should contact Niemeyer at 723-9633.


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