Stealing an Iconic Poet’s Writing Only Gets a $100 Fine

A man in Vermont, Tim Bernaby, stole two letters and thirteen Christmas cards written by Robert Frost.  (The items were left in a desk donated to a nonprofit, where Bernaby worked.)  He then proceeded to see them for over $25,000.

The shocking part of all of this isn’t that Bernaby stole Robert Frost’s personal items–it’s the fact that the court only charged him with a $100 fine!

Robert Frost is an iconic writer in all of literature.  Any literary who knows anything about poetry, knows Frost’s work.  It is astonishing that stealing an American poet’s writing only gets you a $100 fine, which is basically a slap on the wrist!

It is even more infuriating when you realize that this was all done in a state that Frost called home.  It was known that the poet moved from New Hampshire to Vermont to “seek a better place to farm and especially grow apples.”  He spent forty years of his life in Vermont, and his ashes were even spread over Old Bennington.  How could a state, which Frost held so dear to his heart, only give a $100 fine for stealing his work?

What do you think?  Is this a suitable punishment?


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