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article imageAuthor's glasses nabbed, ransom note left at book launch

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 5, 2010 in World
London - Kidnapped glasses, a ransom note, a man jumping into a lake and a chase with a police helicopter were all part of a launch for author Jonathan Franzen’s new book.
The Telegraph reported that a man at the book launch in Hyde Park plucked Franzen's glasses from his face and handed him a ransom note demanding $100,000.
At one point the thief jumped into the Serpentine lake and a police helicopter was called to search for him.
"Police were called at approximately 8.20pm following reports of a theft at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park,” The Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police as saying.
"Officers attended and a man has been arrested on suspicion of theft, section 5 public order offences and breaching Royal Parks Regulations."
"It was frankly quite bizarre," BBC News quoted Graeme Neill, news editor of The Bookseller, as saying. "Considering the seriousness of Franzen's work, this is the last thing anyone expected at his book launch."
Neill said he thought two men had approached Franzen, pretending they worked for another publishing house.
BBC News reported that a 27-year-old has since been released with no further action being taken and that the glasses were recovered.
Thousands of copies of Freedom, the latest book by the American author were recalled last week because of a printing error in the UK edition.
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