In fairness to Mr. O'Connor, there is nothing whatsoever to warrant the implication that he ever intended to try pulling a fast one. For one thing, he was on a trip sponsored by one of the most highly respected churches in Chicago. Second, he is a successful and wealthy businessman with a good reputation in the community. Implying that he would cheat or knowingly break the law is simply not deserved. An excerpt from the Tribune story:
"O'Connor, a history buff, and the shop owner surmised it was from the early 1900s — relatively new for a country where civilizations can be traced back to the Stone Age.
"'I wouldn't have bought anything that was really old,' O'Connor said. 'I wanted something I could buy as a memento.'
"Two days later, on Nov. 20, the couple arrived at Ataturk Airport for their flight home and went through the metal detectors set up near the entrance. Maureen O'Connor froze when two security guards pulled the sword out of a red suitcase containing all their souvenirs.
"'I was like, 'They think we're going to bring that on the plane!' she recalled. 'I said, 'No, no, no, we are checking that.'
"That wasn't the problem, though it took some time for the O'Connors to figure that out because of the language barrier. Eventually a woman who spoke a bit of English explained that Martin O'Connor had to go with police while they sent the sword across town to the Topkapi Palace Museum to determine whether the weapon could be exported."
"It wasn't until more than a month later that the court heard from a weapons expert with the national museum who confirmed that the first inspector had been wrong: The weapon was a standard-issue 'bombardier's sword' from the 20th century, not an antiquity, court records show.
"'It is not a cultural property that should be protected,' the expert's report said. 'These kinds of properties (carpet, rug, and wooden properties) can be taken out of the country with the relevant museum's permission.'"