News and Press Releases

Defendant Who Stole an Historic Theodore Roosevelt Revolver from Sagamore Hill Pleads Guilty

November 30, 2006

Roosevelt Is Believed To Have Worn The Revolver While Leading The Charge Up San Juan Hill

Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, announced that ANTHONY JOSEPH TULINO pleaded guilty today to the theft of a revolver once owned by President Theodore Roosevelt. The revolver, which is believed to have been carried by Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt, serving as the regimental Commander of the “Rough Riders,” during the charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, was stolen in April 1990 from a display case at the Sagamore Hill National Historical Site in Oyster Bay, New York. It was recovered earlier this year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has since been returned to Sagamore Hill.

TULINO pleaded guilty to a violation of the American Antiquities Act of 1906, which was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt and prohibits the theft of an object of antiquity from property owned by the United States government. The guilty plea proceeding was held before United States Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson, at the U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip, New York.

According to the FBI, the stolen firearm is a .38 Model 1892 Colt double-action, six shot revolver that was originally acquired by the United States government for the U.S. Navy in 1895. It was contained in the armory of the Battleship Maine when that ship sank in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898. During a salvage mission, the revolver was recovered by one of Theodore Roosevelt’s relatives and given to Colonel Roosevelt. An inscription on the revolver reads, “July 1st, 1898, San Juan, Carried and Used by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, From the Sunken Battle Ship Maine.” The value of the revolver has been estimated to be between $250,000 and $500,000.

“Today’s guilty plea effectively ends a 16-year-old mystery, and a treasured piece of American history has been returned to the public,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf.Ms. Mauskopf thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Park Service, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, and the Nassau County Police Department for their assistance in the case.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “For more than 16 years the theft of the Theodore Roosevelt revolver deprived the public of the opportunity to view it, to experience first-hand a part of Americana. The revolver was recovered and returned to its rightful place, fittingly, on Flag Day of this year. Now, within days of Veterans’ Day, the person responsible for the theft has pleaded guilty to it. Not only justice, but poetic justice, has been done.”

When sentenced by Magistrate Judge Tomlinson, TULINO faces a maximum sentence of 90 days’ imprisonment and a $500 fine.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz.

The Defendant:

DOB: 5/27/51