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More theft charges filed against Latter-day Saint artifacts collector

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Dec. 3, 2018 at 5:15 p.m.

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PROVO — Additional criminal charges were filed Monday against an Orem collector of Latter-day Saint artifacts accusing him of stealing rare photos from university libraries.

Kevin Mark Ronald Schuwer, 29, is charged in 4th District Court with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony, plus theft and theft by deception, both third-degree felonies.

He is accused of stealing eight books and a historical picture from the BYU Library's Special Collection area, according to court documents.

"He took the books by checking them out, removing the bar codes on them, placing the bar code into another book, and then returning the errantly coded book to the library. He took the picture by replacing the original with a photograph of the original picture," charging documents state.

Schuwer removed an original photo of Porter Rockwell from its protective sleeve and replaced it with a fake copy of the same picture, according to a search warrant affidavit previously served by BYU police. Schuwer then allegedly sold the original photo to a collector in Utah County for $2,000.

Last week, Schuwer was charged in Logan's 1st District Court with theft and burglary, both third-degree felonies, for allegedly stealing "a portrait of a prominent LDS apostle, Orson F. Whitney" from the Utah State University Library Special Collections and Archives, according to charging documents.

Utah County prosecutors noted the active Cache County case in their court documents and also that Schuwer was under investigation "for stealing a historical picture from the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum" in Salt Lake City "and selling it to a collector in California," the charges state.

The warrant says Schuwer is accused of stealing a Porter Rockwell picture from the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum.

Schuwer was arrested on Oct. 30 by BYU police. That same day, a "judgment by confession" was entered against Schuwer in 4th District Court ordering him to pay $694,701 to a man to whom he sold a counterfeit 1835 Latter-day Saint hymnal and a counterfeit 1849 Mormon gold coin, according to the affidavit.

A judgment of confession is used when "the defendant is confessing to the conduct and to the judgment in an effort to pay the plaintiff the amount wrongfully obtained by him from plaintiff, and to avoid the costs of litigation and likely punitive damage claims," the affidavit states.

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