A former Smithsonian Institution Air and Space Museum assistant curator pleaded guilty Friday to stealing artifacts and selling them for profit.

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Karl S. Schneide entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Washington to charges of theft of government property worth $24,400.Schneide, 37, of Brunswick, Md., began removing the materials in November 1990 and continued until May 1994, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder said.

Among the items that Schneide stole, said Holder, were painted aviation fabrics that were once displayed on World War I airplanes.

Schneide sold the fabrics to a store in Chambersburg, Pa.

Holder said that in addition to stealing from the museum storage, Schneide also accepted on behalf of the Smithsonian a World War II flight jacket and photographs - but then sold them.