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After finding stolen Revolutionary War firearms in Philadelphia region, officials are looking for more missing artifacts

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Several Revolutionary War-era firearms that were stolen decades ago have been returned, and the FBI is asking for help from the public to find even more missing artifacts. 

The guns that have been found were returned during a repatriation ceremony at Philadelphia's Museum of the American Revolution, according to the FBI. They were stolen during a string of thefts in and around Valley Forge Park in the 1960s and 1970s.

The artifacts' return followed a years-long, multi-agency investigation and recovery effort that included the FBI's Art Crime Team, the Department of Justice and the Upper Merion Township Police Department.

"We were all committed to seeing justice — not just bringing the objects back home, but seeking a proper prosecution of those who perpetrated these crimes," Special Agent Jake Archer, a member of the FBI's Art Crime Team who worked this case for FBI Philadelphia, said in an article about the case on the FBI's website.

The investigation began in 2009, and three men — Michael Corbett, Scott Corbett and Thomas Gavin — confessed to taking items from the park and the Valley Forge Historical Society, according to the FBI. They went on to help investigators find some of the stolen artifacts. 

In 2009, a man told Upper Merion Township police he'd seen a stolen gun at an antique show in the area, according to the FBI. The tipster thought it had been taken during the Valley Forge thefts.

The gun in question ended up not being from the Valley Forge collection, but it got Upper Merion detectives looking into the thefts. They started working with the team at the Museum of the American Revolution, which took over the collections of the Valley Forge Historical Society after it dissolved and got a list of the missing items. 

Once they had a lead, detectives worked with the FBI's Art Crime Team to track down some of the thieves and the stolen firearms. 

The FBI and other agencies are still looking for 10 items — four firearms they said were stolen from Valley Forge on Oct. 24, 1968, and six items that were stolen from other locations. 

Some of the stolen artifacts may have been passed down in families, and the museum is "reexamining how it describes the missing objects, to highlight any valuable details that might spark someone's memory," according to the FBI.

"The fact is, the vast majority of people want to do the right thing," said Scott Stephenson, president and CEO of the Museum of the American Revolution, in a statement.

The Museum of the American Revolution also hosted an artifact return ceremony in 2023, when dozens of stolen items — including some 18th-century pistols stolen from Valley Forge — were returned to institutions in five states.

You can see photos and descriptions of the missing items on the FBI website. If you recognize any of the items, you should contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or by visiting You can also submit tips anonymously.  

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