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A fourth missing Hitler artifact turns up

A missing swastika-decorated vase has been recovered by sheriff's deputies, the fourth of five artifacts believed to have formerly belonged to Adolf Hitler that were stolen two years ago from a Salt Lake County storage shed.

On Thursday, detectives from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office announced they had recovered three items that apparently at one time were kept in Kehlsteinhaus, or the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's sparsely used chalet on top of a mountain ledge in the Alps overlooking Austria and Germany.

The man who owned the artifacts when they were stolen said his father was a World War II veteran and had collected them.

Three of those artifacts came into the possession of an antiquities dealer who said she bought them from another man. When she realized what they were, however, she called the sheriff's office. Investigators were still looking Friday for the man who sold her the items.

The recovered artifacts included what appeared to be the Saarbrucken Declaration, kept in storage in a steel case. Another is a wooden box containing documents on the history of the German prince Henry the Lion. The third is a document titled the "Ehrenburger Brief" dated March 31, 1933.

The sheriff's office Thursday put out a plea for residents to be on the lookout for two remaining artifacts that also were stolen from the shed, including a damaged bronze bust of Hitler on a marble base and a 4-inch-diameter vase from 1933 with swastikas.

Thursday night, after hearing reports of the theft from the media, a man came to the sheriff's office's Kearns substation and dropped off the vase, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak.

The man had kept it wrapped in a towel inside a plastic box and knew immediately he had what investigators were looking for, Jaroscak said.

The man was unable to wait for investigators to question him Thursday and had yet to be questioned by Friday afternoon. But Jaroscak said the man was not considered a suspect.

"We are not concerned he is trying to hide something," he said.

The initial statement from the man was that the vase was given to him by a friend who is now deceased. Detectives want to question him to try to follow the artifact's trail from the storage shed to his hands, Jaroscak said.

Anyone with information on the remaining missing item can call the sheriff's office at 840-4000.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com