Police: Cleaning woman admits taking $3M bust out of anger
BRYN MAWR — A cleaning woman told investigators she stole a $3 million bust of Benjamin Franklin from a suburban Philadelphia home because she had been fired and was angry at her boss.
Lower Merion Township police released details of an interview with Andrea Lawton, 46, during her preliminary hearing on Thursday. They said she had an accomplice in the Aug. 24 theft from the Bryn Mawr home.
According to police, Lawton said she stole the plaster bust because she was told it was valuable and wanted to get her boss fired but she did not know how valuable until seeing news reports of the theft. She allegedly fled with the bust to a relative's home in Alabama before being arrested Sept. 21 as she got off a Greyhound bus in Elkton, Md.
The bust was recovered but was cracked and will need restoration.
Part of the bust's journey included an overnight stay wrapped in a sheet inside a trash bin in West Philadelphia, police said.
Lawton said she waited in her car while the accomplice, whom she has refused to identify, broke into the home of lawyer George D'Angelo by kicking out an air conditioner. She said the two fled as a car pulled into the driveway, but not before the car's occupants recognized her.
Also stolen during the burglary was a shadowbox with a picture of composer Victor Herbert and his baton, valued at $80,000. Lawton told police she didn't know about its theft until informed by investigators.
Lawton was ordered to stand trial on burglary, theft and other charges and is being held on $1 million bail. Neither she nor her court-appointed attorney, Willis Watson, would comment after the hearing.
In a separate federal case in Philadelphia, Lawton has been charged with illegally transporting a stolen object across state lines.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.