A Cedar City document dealer's suspicions led to discovery of nearly 100 allegedly stolen historical papers, including an 1881 Standard Oil Co. stock certificate signed by John D. Rockefeller.
Warren Anderson said he received a letter in October, purportedly signed by John Morgan of Riviera, Ariz., asking if he would be interested in purchasing a collection of authentic historical documents, including the certificate valued at $12,000.However, Anderson said the man could not verify where the documents came from, claiming to have found them in a trash can.
"That's when I became suspicious," Anderson said. "You don't find a collection with a current market value of $30,000 to $40,000 in a trash can."
Anderson began calling dealers nationwide, trying to find anyone who knew about a stolen collection or was familiar with particular documents he had been offered.
Finally, a dealer in the East said he had sold a similar collection to a casino in Laughlin, Nev.
"I realized that the guy who wrote me the letter lived right across the border (from Laughlin) . . . I contacted the casino who said they had stored the collection in a warehouse. They checked it out and discovered it was gone," Anderson said.
On Monday, Anderson said, Morgan called him to say he was in Cedar City with the collection.
"I was stunned," Anderson said. "That's when I came over to (Cedar City Police Chief) Pete (Hansen) and told him the situation."
Hansen, posing as Anderson's financier, met with Morgan to purportedly discuss purchase of the collection.
Following the meeting, Morgan, 33, and his wife, Chaleen Morgan, 23, also of Riviera, Ariz., were arrested by Cedar City police. The couple was booked into Iron County Jail for investigation on charges of possessing stolen property and a loaded firearm.
The couple was released Tuesday after posting $5,300 bail each.
Hansen said the FBI also is looking into the case.