Main Line House Cleaner Sentenced In Theft of Historic Franklin Bust

By Tony Hanson

BRYN MAWR, Pa. (CBS) — A fired Main Line cleaning service employee was today sentenced to six years in prison for stealing an historic piece of art from a house in Bryn Mawr in August of last year (see previous story).

According to the prosecutor, defendant Andrea Lawton of Philadelphia was motivated by revenge:  she wanted to hurt the reputation of the company that had fired her just a few days earlier.

(Andrea Lawton.  Photo from Lower Merion PD)

(Andrea Lawton. Photo from Lower Merion PD)

The 224-year-old plaster bust of Benjamin Franklin was broken in half as Lawton traveled by bus with the object in a suitcase.

She was taking it to a possible buyer, weeks after the break-in and theft from a home she had serviced (see related story).

“Miss Lawton stole a rare bust of Benjamin Franklin,” said Judge C. Darnell Jones during sentencing today.  “While counsel has cited a number of quotations, my earliest recollection of my late father’s quotation was, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’  And, I would add, not stolen.”

The bust, of priceless historical significance, is valued at somewhere between three-quarters of a million and three million dollars.

The restoration, not yet completed, is estimated to cost more than $35,000.



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A Philadelphia woman is sentenced for the theft of a rare Ben Franklin bust.

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