Naval War College Review


Xavier Maruyama


In 1995 a middle-aged, well dressed, inconspicuous man attracted the attention of an alert librarian at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland. This man was Gilbert Bland, Jr. Notwithstanding his appearance and name, however, the crime he was committing was hardly unassuming. Gilbert Bland (alias James Perry), using the razor-and-fold technique, had stolen from library manuscripts nearly 250 antique maps valued at half a million dollars. A few of the maps were more than four centuries old. He had cut a swath through libraries from the University of North Carolina, the University of Chicago, the University of Washington, and Duke University to the University of Virginia. Many other institutions had also been victimized. In the end only a little over two-thirds of the maps were returned to their owners.