In August, I told you about the precious artifact stolen from a Bryn Mawr home. It was so egregious to me, I called the post “stealing history”.
Well apparently, at long last, there is an update. The thieving former cleaning lady has been caught.
This case caught world-wide attention, and even late yesterday was in the news in the UK and Europe. Of course, as many feared, this greedy ignorant woman not only stole history but damaged it as well. Between the Federal and local charges pending against Andrea Lawton, I hope they throw the book at her.
I am still curious to know whether or not she was part of a larger theft ring. Or just one stupid woman acting on her own.
The owner of a stolen portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin valued at $3 million said Monday that he was relieved that the art treasure had been recovered, but was anxious to know how badly it was damaged by the thief.
George A. D’Angelo said he “stopped breathing” when he was told the porcelain object stolen Aug. 24 from his Bryn Mawr home had been recovered in Elkton, Md., with a cracked breastplate.
The FBI is holding the piece for fingerprints, so he has yet to see it. Once “Ben is back,” D’Angelo said, he will hire a restoration expert.
“I think it can be repaired,” said D’Angelo, 85, a Philadelphia lawyer. “I hope so. It would be ghastly if it can’t.”….
Andrea Lawton, 46, of Philadelphia and Mobile, Ala., was arrested Friday as she got off a bus in Elkton. She was carrying the bust in a gunny sack, D’Angelo said.
Lawton, also known as Andrea Gresham, was charged with theft, fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to papers filed in federal court in Philadelphia….
The 25-pound, 28-inch-high bust was made in 1778 by Jean-Antoine Houdon while Franklin was visiting Paris. There are only three others like it in existence.
A framed case containing a picture of Victor Herbert, a conductor’s baton, an autograph, and a list of his music – valued at $80,000 – was also gone. D’Angelo said police told him that piece was still missing.
“It’s a bizarre story,” D’Angelo said. “She said she doesn’t know anything about Victor Herbert” and may have disposed of the picture at a secondhand shop without realizing its value.
Police and the FBI traced the address of Lawton, who has four burglary convictions, to Hazelhurst Street in Philadelphia, but when she didn’t return there, the FBI tracked her to Mobile, her hometown.
On Sept. 19, a witness told the FBI that Lawton “still had possession of the bust, and that she intended to transport it outside of Alabama in order to sell it on the black market.”
“It’s like stealing Venus de Milo from the Louvre,” said D’Angelo. “What in heaven’s name would you think she was going to do with it?”
PUBLISHED:21:38 EST, 24 September 2012| UPDATED:07:40 EST, 25 September 2012
A bungling housekeeper turned thief was arrested Friday for stealing a precious sculpture of Benjamin Franklin she managed to break in the heist.
Andrea Lawton, 46, was briefly employed by Philadelphia attorney George A. D’Angelo, 85, this summer when she first spotted the 18th century bust when she was told to be careful cleaning around it because it was ‘extremely valuable.’
She was fired on August 21 before returning three days later to grab it from Mr D’Angelo’s Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, home and run off to Elkton, Maryland, with the $3million bust stuffed in a burlap sack …
Lawton was seen rushing out of the home on August 24 by the new cleaning staff, who recognized her getting into a red Chevy Taho or SUV.
Police said she entered the home by pushing in an air-conditioner on the porch while another woman was waiting in the car.
When she didn’t return to her Philadelphia home, police tracked her to another address in Mobile, Alabama.