GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 20, 2010

Woman charged in connection with stolen dolls

A Gloucester woman is facing charges of receiving stolen property after police seized six African dolls from her home — dolls they believe were stolen from the Boston Children's Museum in January.

But Marie Manning, no age given, of 14 Smith St., Gloucester, has told police that she bought the dolls from a man she met in Boston.

She was not sure of the date, but told Gloucester police she purchased the dolls while visiting her granddaughter who lives in the city. Attempts to reach Manning yesterday were unsuccessful.

Manning was charged after police found her in possession of the dolls on Saturday afternoon.

The six dolls were apart of the Boston Black Exhibit, which ran Jan. 21 to Jan. 29 at the Boston Children's Museum.

According to police reports, the dolls were reported missing Jan. 29. The dolls have not been appraised, but their estimated value is $5,000, according to police reports.

Police said they were drawn to Manning on Saturday afternoon when she was bailing a friend out of jail.

According to police, and with officers present, Manning began talking about some rare dolls that she was looking to sell to a private collector.

Police say she described the dolls in vivid detail, noting that one was made of beads, and that another one portrayed a young African boy sitting on a rock.

Gloucester police were aware of the thefts in Boston, and asked Boston police to send them pictures of the stolen dolls.

When police received the photos, they went to Manning's Smith Street home and positively identified the dolls in her possession as the ones stolen from the museum.

Attempts to reach the museum by telephone last evening were unsuccessful.

Nick Curcuru can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3461, or ncurcuru@gloucestertimes.com.

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