The Truth Behind Stealing The Most Expensive Book
The new movie, ‘American Animals’ is releasing this week and is based off a true story of a robbery for the most expensive book.
The heist was referred to the Transylvania University rare-book robbery in 2005, when a group of young men plan to steal the first-edition of Charles Darwin’s book about the theory of evolution, On the Origin of Species.
The group of 20-year-old men who conspired to steal the book from the Transylvania University Library including Warren Lipka, Spencer Reinhard, Eric Borsuk, and Charles Allen II. The men dropped some of the more valuable books while running from the scene of the crime and are facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
During the robbery the men used a stun gun and tied the librarian on duty, while making off with at least $500,000 in stolen goods. The expensive artifacts were kept in a special glassed-in room in the library with access only through an interior building staircase.
Students can visit the special display for the priceless artifacts through appointments, with “Beckman” using an e-mail from their yahoo account and giving the police a digital trace. Once in the library “Beckman” used a cell phone to call the second man into the library, while two others stun gunned the library on duty and restrained her.
The robbery included the theft of 20 pencil sketches by Audubon for the octavo edition of Birds of America, the first edition Darwin book, a two-volume natural history from the 1500s Ortus Sanitatis (translates to Garden of Health), and an illuminated manuscript from 1425 with two large folios.
The library director, Susan Brown, witnessed the men fleeing with the artifacts while dropping the two large folios and used a gray minivan as the get-away vehicle. The men thought they got away with the robbery, running into trouble when they try to sell.
The authorities were flagged when two of the men tried to sell the artifacts to a Christie’s Auction House specialist in New York. After the flagging of the items at Christie’s the men were traced back to the crime through the e-mail accounts used.
Check out the video above for more on the story behind the new film, American Animals.
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