Alleged theft reported at the Alamo
Questions raised of document's authenticity; Police report no evidence of break-in
SAN ANTONIO - An alleged theft at the Alamo has raised questions about the authenticity of the possibly historic document that was reported missing: a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence signed in 1836.
However, a copy remains in the office of the Alamo Mission chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
“They have a copy and they think that’s not the copy that they should have,” said Melinda Navarro, the Alamo’s executive administrator.
However, its existence was unknown to DRT officials until the chapter notified SAPD.
Navarro said no one from the chapter was available to speak about the matter.
She said 1,000 copies of Texas Declaration of Independence were reproduced soon after it was signed in 1836, but only 13 were known to currently exist.
“Many historians, many archivists would say I’ve never heard of that. We didn’t know of a 14th one,” said Bruce Winters, historian and curator at the Alamo, said.
Two priceless original copies donated to the DRT are kept in climate-controlled conditions, said Leslie Stapleton, director of the DRT library.
Asked how the Alamo chapter’s copy compared, she said, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it.”
According to a report filed with the San Antonio Police Department, staff with the Texas General Land Office raised questions during an inventory of historic documents as it prepared to take over control of the Alamo from the DRT.
Instead of the Alamo chapter’s framed copy, the one in a file cabinet only had cardboard backing, as stated in the SAPD report, and the lock appeared to have been tampered with.
“Quite frankly, we’re not sure if anything was stolen at all,” said SAPD Police Chief Bill McManus.
Navarro said, “I think people are probably making more of it than needs to be.”
She expects the matter to be cleared up, much like an apothecary jar also reported missing, was later found.
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