Lawyer: Man with stolen Frost papers to do right
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt.—A New Hampshire man who bought cards and letters written by poet Robert Frost after they were stolen is willing to return them, but he wants to recover what he paid for them.
That's the word from Brad Wilder, the lawyer for Thomas Cady of Plainfield, N.H., who says his client was a "good faith purchaser" of the papers and committed no crime.
The papers were found in a desk donated by a Hanover, N.H., family to Listen Community Services, a nonprofit social service agency based across the
Wilder told the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H., that Cady, who works as a chimney sweep, wants to do the right thing and return the documents, but also wants to recover the $25,000 he paid for them.
Authorities have said they've considered charging Cady, but Wilder argued that should not happen.
"Given the fact that there are continuing discussions, I would be disappointed if anyone decided to arrest Mr. Cady," Wilder said. "He's acting in good faith, he recognizes the gray area, he's been cooperating. But he wants to make sure that his interests are protected as well."
Wilder said talks have been ongoing among prosecutors from Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as a lawyer for the Hanover man whose family donated the desk without realizing it contained two letters and 13 Christmas cards written by Frost.
Authorities have said Cady bought the Frost papers from a former Listen center employee who took them from the donated desk.
Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand said the legal issues surrounding Cady's role were not completely straightforward.
"The critical issue is that there has to be an awareness that it's stolen property," Sand said. "If John Q. Citizen purchases an item and does not know it's stolen, the ownership (or) possession of it is not a crime. It's a little more complicated -- and I'm not saying I know the answer -- (but) what happens when the innocent purchaser is not an innocent possessor? They now know the item is stolen. That person potentially does have some responsibility for keeping something."
However, Sand said, "I'm not aware that we've ever prosecuted a case under that theory."
Information from: Lebanon Valley News, http://www.vnews.com