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FBI Document Bandits Reveal Themselves More Then 40 Years Later

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–More than 40 years ago a handful of anti-war activists broke into a FBI office in Media, Delaware County and stole documents proving that agents were carrying out illegal surveillance on Vietnam protestors and civil rights groups.

The information was published in newspapers and the burglars were never known until now.

On March 8, 1971 when all eyes were on the televised Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier fight. The activists were hoping the match was the distraction they needed to break in to the FBI office and steal the documents.

It worked and the information was sent unanimously to newspapers and then published.

The undetected group, who were three college professors, a day care director and a cab driver were relieved when the statues of limitations for prosecution expired in 1976, but they kept their secret until recently. But some question, why now?

Civil rights lawyer David Kairys and Temple University law professor represents the surviving members.

“They’re really hoping that the lessons learned back then can be utilized in the current period and that government shouldn’t be snooping on people just because people oppose government policy”.

The admitted burglars tell their stories in a new book called “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI” By Betty Medsger.

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