A sneaky housekeeper has been arrested for allegedly stealing a $3 million bust of Ben Franklin from the home of her former employer, Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting. 46-year-old Andrea Lawton was arrested with the stolen item in-hand as soon as she stepped off the bus in Elkton, Maryland. While authorities did manage to take possession of the missing Ben Franklin bust, the sculpture didn’t survive the adventure without suffering a little damage in the process.
The housekeeper, who also goes by the name of Andrea Gresham, has been charged with theft, fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property for her actions. The bust’s owner, 85-year-old George A. D’Angelo, was thrilled when authorities revealed they had located the likeness of Ben Franklin’s head.
Unfortunately for D’Angelo, his former housekeeper damaged the piece after lifting the antique from the collection’s home. During the time spent in Lawson’s care, the Ben Franklin bust received a crack across the breastplate. According to ABC News, D’Angelo had yet to receive the piece from the FBI.
“We’ll just hope that Ben can be restored,” the antique collector explained. “He’ll go back on the pedestal and grace the room again.” Regarding his housekeeper’s thieving ways, D’Angelo added, “It’s like stealing Venus de Milo from the Louvre. What in heaven’s name would you think she was going to do with it?”
There’s a very good reason the Ben Franklin bust is worth $3 million. According to Blouin Artinfo, the 25-pound sculpture was crafted in 1777 by Jean-Antoine Houdon during Benjamin Franklin’s trip to France. Since there are only four such busts in existence, D’Angelo’s missing artwork is understandably valuable.
Unfortunately, an autographed picture of the composer Victor Herbert housed inside a shadowbox is still missing from the D’Angelo’s collection. The value of this particular piece of art: $80,000. That’s certainly a lot of Ben Franklins.