SALEM — When Jeff Landry went looking for the 122-year-old Moghan Kazak rug in his Salem rug gallery a few weeks ago and couldn't find it, he began asking employees if they had seen it.

Two days later, the rug, with an estimated value of $5,500, suddenly reappeared, Landry, of Landry and Arcari, would tell police.

But it was no magic carpet. After looking at countless surveillance videos, Landry found a clue: a worker taking photos of the antique rug with a cellphone. And then on another video, the worker was seen folding the rug and stuffing it into a backpack, Landry told police.

On Wednesday, following an investigation by Sgt. James Page, Salem police arrested Junior Arriola-Mena, 24, of Dorchester.

Now he's facing a charge of larceny of more than $250.

Arriola-Mena is also being held on an immigration warrant, which was lodged after he was unable to provide a Social Security number and gave a different name than he had given to his employer, Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said.

Arriola-Mena initially denied knowing anything about the rug, but eventually confessed to taking it and giving it to a friend, though he insisted that he was not paid anything for the valuable antique, Prosniewski said.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or at jmanganis@salemnews.com.

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