NewsLocal NewsInvestigations


Can you find President Harry Truman’s stolen treasures?

Posted: 9:47 AM, May 06, 2021
Updated: 2021-05-06 11:06:18-04
truman swords broken display case

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The 41 Action News I-Team needs your help to solve a cold case more than four decades old.

On a snowy day in March 1978, thieves broke into the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum and stole a collection of swords and daggers worth $1 million at the time.

They were gifts to President Truman and the United States from leaders in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In March, the FBI announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the return of these prized artifacts.

Will you be the one to find Truman’s treasures? Click on the graphic below to examine the clues in the case.

The Events of March 24, 1978

6:20 a.m. | According to the Independence Police Department’s original report, there was one security guard named Thomas Williams on duty on the north side of the building. A maintenance man named Neil Morris was at the guard station as well.

The men saw a black Oldsmobile parked across the street. Williams told police he saw a woman exit the car and walk around it before getting back in and driving away.

6:30 a.m. | Minutes later, Williams heard an alarm go off. That signaled the start of the heist, which lasted just 45 seconds.

The thieves smashed a glass window by the front door of the museum. Once inside, they broke open the display case where the swords and daggers were kept.

The police report shows Williams ran down a long corridor from the north to the south side of the library. When he got to the double doors leading to the exhibit, Williams “heard a chain rattling and could tell there was someone at the door.”

The thieves locked the doors from the other side, buying them time to steal the swords and daggers and run back out the broken window.

The only evidence left behind were two sets of footprints in the melted snow.

Although not much is known about the suspects, the FBI says they were likely aware of the library’s security procedures.

PODCAST: FBI seeks help solving President Harry S. Truman Library heist cold case

Weeks before the burglary — in February of 1978 — thieves attempted to break-in at the museum, according to reporting by The Kansas City Star. A security guard was able to scare them off before they broke inside.

Investigators don't know if that was connected to the $1 million heist in March.

If you have any information about the case, call the FBI's Kansas City office at 816-512-8200 or go to