Harrisburg demands better security at Civil War museum

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The city is demanding the National Civil War Museum take prompt action to correct “security deficiencies” officials say were brought to light by a Feb. 14 burglary.

In a Feb. 19 letter to museum CEO Wayne Motts, solicitor Neil Grover wrote that the city will be required to act to protect its interests if the museum fails or refuses to address what he calls “substantial risk of further economic harm.”

“By all indications, the museum premises are being left essentially unsecured for long periods of time, with no effective or operation security systems,” Grover wrote.

Grover said the museum lacks operating interior cameras or recording devices, a direct connection to law enforcement or a qualified security firm, and on-site, after-hours security personnel.

He wrote that the deficiencies had to be known to the museum but for whatever reason were allowed to continue.

“The real and personal property of the city thus became and remains easy prey for any would-be thief,” he wrote. “That’s simply unacceptable.”

“If any requisite mechanical repairs or replacements of security systems would not be immediately feasible, then the museum must engage qualified bonded security personnel to stand watch over the premises until security systems are made fully functional,” he added.

The city is asking for written confirmation of the steps taken to secure the museum or any plan to resolve what Grover calls “security lapses.”

Three antique guns were stolen from the museum during a burglary on Feb. 14, including a city-owned presentation case of two revolvers Samuel Colt gave to Simon Cameron, secretary of war under President Lincoln.

Police said the stolen guns were in a glass case and were part of a National Rifle Association-sponsored exhibit that had drawn protests.

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