Sentence Reduced For Hartland Man Who Took Robert Frost Papers

October 11, 2013

in Archive,News

By Eric Francis
Standard Correspondent

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – The criminal case that made headlines two years ago after it was discovered that a thrift shop worker had helped himself to a cache of papers written by poet Robert Frost he’d found left behind in the drawer of a donated desk, resolved itself this past week.

The formal charge against Timothy Bernaby, 44, of North Hartland was reduced from the original filing of a felony grand larceny to a misdemeanor unlawful taking of tangible property concluded with a hundred dollar fine.

Despite the title of the criminal charge, one of the issues in the case was always the rather intangible matter of deciding what the dozen or so cards and short letters are actually worth.

Frost, who once said of poetry, “Modern poets talk against business, poor things, but all of us write for money,” would probably have been astonished to learn that fifty years after his death the estimated values floated about by experts for notes he’d simply dashed off to his secretary would range from $2,500 to upwards of $25,000.

Frost’s ephemera is still being held by the police while the tangled case that began at the LISTEN furniture outlet in White River Junction in the former “25,000 Gifts and Woolens,” will now move to civil court in order to determine the rightful owner of the items.


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