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Walrus tusk taken from Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill home

Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt

Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt Photo Credit: Library of Congress

A 15-inch walrus tusk resting on a mantel in Theodore Roosevelt's historic home at Sagamore Hill was stolen sometime last month, officials said Monday in announcing a $1,000 reward for its return.

The tusk's disappearance was noticed during a weekly cleaning of the home on Feb. 22, said Thomas Ross, superintendent of the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Cove Neck. It was last seen Feb. 9, he said.

Old Brookville police and the National Park Service are investigating.

The missing tusk is one of a pair that sat at opposite ends of a fireplace mantel in a guest room on the second floor. Like many other rooms of the house, it is sealed off by a rope when visitors take guided tours, Ross said.

"It's a family piece, but we're not sure how it was acquired," he said, of the tusk with a carved and sharpened tip. "Every item in the home does provide visitors with a personal connection with Theodore Roosevelt."

The FBI has added the tusk to its national stolen art list. In 2006, the FBI's Philadelphia-based Art Crime Team solved the mystery of Roosevelt's stolen pistol. Joseph Tulino, a former resident of Whitestone, Queens, pleaded guilty to stealing the pistol, which Roosevelt used in the Spanish-American War, during a 1990 visit to the site's museum.

Despite the two incidents, thefts from historic sites are rare, said Philip Sheridan, spokesman for the National Park Service Northeast region.

"If history repeats itself with the pistol, we'll have the tusk back in the home," he said.

Anyone with information on the tusk's whereabouts is asked to call National Park Service Special Agent Jeffrey Pascale at 215-597-9978.


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