Transylvania Thieves Sentenced

Transylvania Thieves Sentenced

Four former college students were sentenced December 6 to 87 months years in prison for theft and assault in a robbery that took place at the Transylvania University library’s special collections department in Lexington, Kentucky, two years ago. U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Coffman gave the men the minimum sentence under federal guidelines after a nine-hour hearing, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported December 6.

Eric Borsuk, Charles Allen II, Warren C. Lipka, and Spencer W. Reinhard had all pleaded guilty in April to the theft, which included an 1859 first edition of Darwin’s The Origin of Species and 20 pencil sketches by John James Audubon.

Special Collections Librarian B. J. Gooch, who has filed a lawsuit against the men, testified at the hearing that Borsuk and Lipka used a stun device on her and tied her feet and hands before fleeing with the materials. “I remember struggling and I remember screaming but knowing that no one could hear me because of where I was,” Gooch testified. Shortly afterward, Library Director Susan Brown sensed something was wrong and came to her assistance.

The books and sketches were recovered when the men were arrested after attempting to sell them to Christie’s auction house in New York.

Posted December 9, 2005.