Robert Rumsby, 29, of Fredericksburg, Va., admitted to investigators he took dog tags that belonged to four U.S. airmen killed in plane crashes in 1944, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court last month. The complaint says the alleged thefts at the research facility in College Park date back to 2015.
"I think the intent was there. I think the approach was wrong. Even at the time, I knew the approach was wrong," Rumsby told Stars and Stripes last month. "I had taken four identification tags from those record groups specifically for families I knew would treasure them."
Rumsby's wife is the great niece of one of the deceased airmen. Rumsby said he gave that airman's dog tags to his wife's grandmother as a Christmas gift and gave another airman's dog tags to a relative of that serviceman.
Rumsby also told Stars and Stripes that he and his wife have since been temporarily banned from the building.
Rumsby is assigned to the Virginia National Guard's 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. National Guard spokesman A. A. "Cotton" Puryear said Rumsby's unit leaders are aware of the criminal case.
"Once the civilian judicial process is complete, his chain of command will evaluate to see if any military administrative action would be appropriate," Puryear told the Associated Press in an email.
Rumsby isn't the first visitor to be accused of stealing from the Maryland facility.
Antonin DeHays, a French historian and author, was sentenced in April 2018 to one year in prison after pleading guilty to stealing at least 291 dog tags and other relics, most of which he sold on eBay and elsewhere for a total of more than $43,000.
The College Park building stores thousands of dog tags were seized by German Luftgaukommandos, which prepared reports on Allied aircraft crashes during World War II.
Rumsby, who has been charged with theft of public records, will head to trial on Aug. 14 at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Fox News’ Kira Grant and the Associated Press contributed to this report.