A year later, questions still unanswered in Civil War museum gun theft

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A year after guns were stolen from the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, the investigation continues.

So what’s happened since then, and what’s still to come?

The window police say the suspect, or suspects, used to break in a year ago this week has long been replaced. But after months of looking at it, the city doesn’t who that person was or what happened when they left.

The city also doesn’t know yet if it will get an insurance payout.

“I’d like to announce something soon,” Mayor Eric Papenfuse said Friday, “But the reality is even a year later, we’re still arguing over the claim.”

The fight is over three guns — two pistols and a rifle — taken from an NRA-sponsored exhibit last February.

A copy of the original receipt from when former Mayor Steve Reed’s administration bought them shows the city paid around $250,000 for a collection that included the three antique firearms.

“The city paid a lot of money for many of these items,” Papenfuse said. “And the insurance company has come back with appraisals that have been too low in the city’s eyes.”

Any insurance money the city does get, the mayor suggested, could go to improvements at Reservoir Park, where the museum sits.

The investigation hasn’t turned anything up yet, either. Police haven’t made any arrests, and a museum board member, Gene Barr, said it’ll probably be a while before the guns turn up.

Another sticking point with the city that came up shortly after the theft: security.

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that the system was either purposefully disconnected or turned off,” board chair Burt Snyder said last year.

Barr said Friday they fixed the system that malfunctioned and asked the federal Department of Homeland Security to analyze the building’s security.

The board has been implementing DHS recommendations over the last year, but Barr wouldn’t elaborate on what measures are now in place.

“I think that the museum has done a good job of learning from that experience,” Papenfuse said.

The mayor also signaled a warming relationship between the city and the museum after calling for it to be shut down, but he added Friday he’s still not happy with the deal the city is getting.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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