91-year-old Don Miller has had quite a storied life and has been collecting antiques and artifacts throughout it that he keeps in the basement of his Rush County, Indiana home. Little did he know, the FBI has been tracking him and his expansive collection that’s taken eight decades to build, and on Wednesday they took over his home as a result.
Miller is a veteran, a former teacher, and he even helped develop the first nuclear bomb in the Manhattan Project. His collection is from the over 200 countries that he’s visited around the globe that he picked up and bartered to acquire.
“It’s unreal,” neighbor Andi Essex told the local news station WISH-TV. She said that the “full skeleton is what blew my mind” and that Miller’s piece of a Nazi bunker is her favorite.
“He’s just a very interesting, interesting guy,” she said.
“I had even asked him, ‘Can I bring my Grandpa? Can I?’” Essex recounted WISH after her tour. “He was like ‘Oh, sure! Just call me. Yeah, we’d love to show him through here.’ Because you know, anybody who interested who’s a history buff would love to see some of the stuff he has.”
IUPUI Professor of Anthropology Larry Zimmerman told the TV station that “I have never seen a collection like this in my entire life except in some of the largest museums.”
Miller had his Waldron, Ind. home taken over by FBI agents who believe that some of his artifacts might have been “acquired improperly.” They have set up huge tents, a command center, and have vehicles everywhere along with crime scene tape around the home while they inspect each artifact one-at-a-time.
In a statement to the press, Special Agent Robert Jones said that “Over the last several months, an FBI investigation has determined that Mr. Miller may have knowingly and unknowingly collected artifacts, relics and objects of cultural patrimony in violation of several treaties federal and state statutes.”
(Read More: Family Terrorized By Militarized Raid On Wrong Home)
He added that the current laws and agreements may not have even been enacted when Miller took possession of some of the pieces of his collection, however he said that it’s “our duty to ensure they are properly identified, safeguarded, collected and stored in a manner that allow us to eventually to return them to those Native American and other nations and cultural groups who have legitimate rights to ownership.”
Miller is cooperating with the FBI and allowed them into his home without incident, but claims that everything in his collection is rightfully his.
Jones said that the FBI will be turning over their findings to the U.S. Attorney’s office once they complete the investigation and that anything that is legitimately Miller’s will be returned to him. The agent did stop short of saying whether or not Miller will face charges, however.
Neighbors are upset that Miller is having to deal with what seems like such an inconsequential waste of time.
Melissa Kleiman told WISH that she was “flabbergasted” when she heard the news of what the FBI was doing.
“I’m just thinking about this wonderful man that I had met three years ago, and I’ll never forget him and all the stories he told us. I just can’t imagine him doing anything wrong on purpose.”
“He was just one of those guys that you meet once in your life, and he has a huge impact on you, and you just never forget him,” she said.
Is this a giant waste of time or should the FBI be concerned with what someone has in their basement? Let us know with a comment, we love to read them!