Transy Students Who Stole Rare Books To Face More Prison Time

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Four former college friends serving prison time for stealing and trying to sell rare manuscripts and drawings now face longer sentences.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Tuesday that a judge erred in sentencing the four men to seven years in prison for the 2004 robbery at Transylvania University.
Judge Alice Batchelder wrote that the trial judge underestimated the value of the stolen items when determining sentences for Charles Allen, Eric Borsuk, Warren Lipka and Spencer Reinhard.
The higher value of over $1 million for the five items the men took from the college library in Lexington would increase their potential sentences, the judge said. Instead of facing a minimum of seven years in prison, the four should face a minimum of nine years behind bars, Batchelder wrote.
Under the seven-year sentence, all were scheduled for release in
May 2012.
Allen, Borsuk, Lipka and Reinhard, all 23, pleaded guilty in 2005 to stealing rare books and plotting to sell them through Christie's, an upscale auction house in New York.
Among the items taken were sketches by naturalist John James
Audubon, a first edition of Charles Darwin's classic "On the Origin of Species," and two rare manuscripts.
The four were arrested in February 2005 after investigators traced e-mail sent to Christie's. Authorities said the men tried to sell the items before auction house officials became suspicious.
On Dec. 17, 2004, Lipka entered the special collections library
posing as "Walter Beckman." He later let Borsuk into the special collections library. Lipka used a stun pen on Betty Jean Gooch, and
then Lipka and Borsuk tied Gooch up and blindfolded her.
As they were exiting the library, they dropped some of the books
while being chased by a librarian and then ran to a van driven by Allen.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Chris Location: SE KY on Feb 6, 2008 at 05:14 PM
    I'm not real concerned with the value of the books. What bothers me is that they stunned a woman and tied her up. What did they get on the charges of assault and unlawful imprisonment? That should be worth a few years by itself.
  • by j Location: lexington on Feb 6, 2008 at 04:43 PM
    actually, spencer played on transy's soccer team, so yes, at one time at least one of them was a transy student. also, i've seen in almost EVERY account that lipka's father is the uk women's soccer coach. especially the early reports. ((remember all the tv coverage when it first happened? apparently not.)) its unfortunate to see this sort of thing happen. i knew spencer when he was a boy, and he was so sweet, sarcastic and funny. its a shame that he had to make such a bad decision. also, i agree that this was no prank. tying up some poor librarian and having her think she's going to die is NOT a joke of any kind. and trying to sell the items is also NOT a prank. i just hope that once these young men serve their time, they're able to come back to us with a better perspective on life.
  • by John Location: Winchester on Feb 6, 2008 at 07:59 AM
    Jess, please help me understand. How was any part of this a prank that went wrong?
  • by Thomas Location: Lexington on Feb 6, 2008 at 07:56 AM
    Posted by: Kelli Location: Transy, Lxington Obviously, someone didn't do his research because the thieves that stole the books from Transy's library were UK students. You're giving Transy students a bad name with the subject of your article. Good point.... also it's interesting that the fact Lipka is the son of UK Women's Soccer coach and this information has been left out of the majority of media accounts in Lexington. I guess their neighbors on Beaumont Avenue were glad to see these jewels kicked outta the house they occupied.
  • by Kelli Location: Transy, Lxington on Feb 5, 2008 at 11:41 PM
    Obviously, someone didn't do his research because the thieves that stole the books from Transy's library were UK students. You're giving Transy students a bad name with the subject of your article.
  • by Jess Location: Lexington on Feb 5, 2008 at 12:39 PM
    Knowing one of these boys very well makes it very hard for me to agree that they should have more jail time. The judge made her ruling on not having enough information then thats her problem I don't feel that they should have to serve more time for her mistake, if the value was that important the judge obviously should of made sure she had all the information to start with but she didn't so they've been sentenced!! it should be done and over with! Good luck too all 4 of you & I hate seeing that just a simple prank went wrong but we all miss you & can't wait til it's all over with !! :)
  • by Denise Location: London on Feb 5, 2008 at 11:46 AM
    This has made my day!! These brats deserve more time!
  • by Steve Location: Lexington on Feb 5, 2008 at 09:36 AM
    Good for the 6th Circuit! This is what should be happening when punks appeal their sentences, they should get more time if it's found that they appealed wrongly. That's what happens when you make frivolous appeals. I hope they give them the entire 11 years to think about how stupid they are.
  • by charles Location: lexington on Feb 5, 2008 at 08:39 AM
    They should go with the origainal sentence, Those items costantly fluxuate in value anyhow....

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