Monday 27 February 2012

Theft is theft, Isn't it?

In Philadelphia, retired pharmaceutical company chemist 65-year-old Robert Franz of Plymouth Meeting pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to defraud the United States and theft of government property for the theft of fossils from federal land in Alaska. He has now been sentenced to three years probation, a $100,000 fine and 300 hours of community service. It was determined that in June 2007 he had stolen a mammoth ivory tusk from public lands north of the Brooks Range and had also "conspired with others to make several trips to northern Alaska during the last few years to collect prehistoric and fossilized artifacts".

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Friend sought a sentence of 14 months in prison, calling Frantz an "artifact hunter" who used wealth estimated by prosecutors at more than $3 million to "gain access to protected lands, and then willfully pillage artifacts and natural resources." Defense attorney Richard Hark, however, said his client was an avid hiker who saw the tusk lying on the river bank on one of many trips to Alaska and found it "too good to pass up." He said Franz mailed the tusk to his home and put it in an armoire for personal enjoyment, not for profit.
Which Attorney Hark presumably considers makes stealing such things all the less morally irresponsible I guess.

The Associated Press, 'Probation, fine for Pa. man in Alaska fossil theft' Feb. 27, 2012

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