The theft of 299 tropical bird skins from the Natural History Museum collections in Tring, UK, in 2009, comes to a conclusion. Last week the BBC reported the arrest of an American citizen and the recovery of most of the preserved birds, without any further background.
Now the Natural History Museum has released the following information, stating the name of the man charged on suspicion of the theft:
Detectives investigating the theft of 299 rare bird skins from the Natural History Museum in Tring have charged a man in connection with the incident. On 24 June last year (2009) it is alleged there was a break-in at the museum, which is on Akeman Street in Tring. It was subsequently discovered that 299 brightly-coloured bird skins were missing, believed stolen, from a collections’ area. Edwin Rist, aged 22, from the USA, has been charged with burglary and money laundering offences. He is due to appear at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates court on 26 November. Police have recovered the majority of the bird skins.
A quick search on the Internet revealed Edwin Rist is renowned for his salmon fly-tying, the art of making lures (to catch fish) with feathers. Already as a teen he (and his brother) gained considerable skills and fame in this craft and exhibited his work.
The stolen Tring bird skins were mostly of very colorful bird species, such as trogons, quetzals and birds of paradise whose feathers are especially sought after by people producing these ‘flies’.