WASHINGTON –FBI agents from the “art crime team” raided the home of an elderly man in rural central Indiana who has been apparently collecting artifacts since a small boy.
Don Miller, 91, may or may not have known that some of his artifacts — found and purchased over years of world travel, from shrunken heads to concrete allegedly broken off of Hitler’s infamous suicide bunker, may be ill-gotten gains. In other words, illegal.
Agents of the FBI’s art crime team began loading trucks with artifacts that Donald Miller acquired over the decades from sites as varied as China, Russia and New Guinea. However, the FBI was careful not to say whether they believed Miller had knowingly broken any laws. The FBI’s aim is to catalog the artifacts and return them to their countries of origin.
“We’re collecting and analyzing with the goal of repatriation,” FBI Special Agent Drew Northern said.
Miller never made a point of hiding his many collections. According to reports, he took schoolchildren on tours of his amateur museum, which even contained human remains, they said. A 150-foot underground tunnel linking two homes on Miller’s property in Rush County, a rural Indiana area whose largest city has a population of about 6,000 people, was adorned with a 60-foot, 4-foot-wide anaconda snakeskin, Runnebohm said. Carefully labeled glass showcases boasted hundreds of Native American arrowheads,which he had been collecting since a boy.
“He never tried to hide anything,” Runnebohm said. “Everything he had he was real proud of, and he knew what everything was.”