A man is accused of trying to steal $12,000 worth of artifacts, reproduction weapons and cash from the Fort Dobbs State Historical Site in Statesville, the (Statesville) Record & Landmark reported.
Fort Dobbs was the only permanent frontier provincial fort in the colony of North Carolina during the French and Indian War of 1754-1763. It housed about 50 soldiers.
Adam Douglas Bates, 33, was charged with breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering after items were taken from the site at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the newspaper reported. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.
Sheriff’s detectives found the items hidden under brush near the site’s parking lot. Detectives believed Bates planned to return to pick up the items, according to the Record & Landmark.
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Surveillance footage captured a clear image of the assailant. Bates was identified after investigators circulated the photo on social media.
Site manager Scott Douglas told the Record & Landmark that Fort Dobbs is on a limited budget, so if the theft had succeeded, the loss could have devastated the living history program.
Douglas told the newspaper that the museum has been cleaned up and “we’re using this as an opportunity to improve our security measures on top of what we already have in place. Our surveillance was instrumental in getting an arrest.”
By the end of 1761, the British had essentially won the war and only 30 troops remained at the fort, according to a history of the fort on the Fort Dobbs website.
Colonial leaders disbanded the troops and removed all the supplies of the garrison as settlement moved far west of the fort. The neglected fort was in ruins by 1766.