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Ex-museum director charged with stealing artifacts

The former director of Long Island University's Hillwood Museum was arraigned on charges of stealing ancient Egyptian artifacts and lying to an FBI agent Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Barry Stern, 61, of Oyster Bay, did not enter a plea. He was released on $100,000 bond and ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson to surrender his passport.

The judge also told Stern, a past president of the Long Island Museum Association, to stay in "continuous contact" with his attorney, Mark Baker of Manhattan. "Make sure your attorney knows your whereabouts at all times," Tomlinson said.

Stern, who is charged with stealing the items from the museum before his contract was not renewed in August of last year, declined to comment. Baker said his client made the necessary arrangements to turn himself in once he had been notified of the criminal complaint. "There's really not much else to say," Baker said outside the courtroom.

Assistant U.S. attorney Richard Donoghue also declined to comment, but a person close to the case said the government's objective is the return of the pieces.

Stern is charged with stealing nine models of Egyptian mythical figures made from wood, bronze, quartz and limestone, each more than 2,000 years old. The FBI says Stern delivered the pieces to Christie's auction house last year in August and September and made $26,869 on a December sale of five of them.Three more pieces sold for $16,200 in June, the FBI's complaint said, but Stern has not yet been paid for that transaction.

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