Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Transylvania Book Heist

Volume recounts time leading up to
2004 book heist

This from the Herald-Leader:

For five years and from within his federal prison cell, Charles Allen wrote down everything he could remember about the years, months and days that preceded Dec. 17, 2004. That was the day he and three of his friends borrowed his aunt's van and robbed valuable first-edition books from Transylvania University's special collections library, tying up and terrorizing a librarian in the process.

The result is Mr. Pink: The Inside Story of the Transylvania Book
Heist, written by Allen, now 25 and incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington. Self-published, the title of the book refers to the names that the conspirators gave one another during the commission of the crime. The book went
on sale this week.


Anonymous said...

The wonders of the free press....Mr. Allen, who attended Cassidy School, does not garner my sympathy. His book is inappropriate at best and self-serving at worst.I do hope Mr. Allen considers in his book the pain he inflicted on Transylvania's archivist during the robbery. These boys were, in many respects, symptomatic of the arrogance and sense of entitlement found in many well-to-do American families.

Anonymous said...

Is he making money off of this book?

Richard Day said...

Yeah. I was surprised to learn about the book. And Chas was indeed a Cassidy kid - on my watch - and I liked him.

On one hand, is the book further evidence; "symptomatic of the arrogance and sense of entitlement found in many well-to-do American families?" It's hard to argue with that. The robbery itself sure seemed to be. Of course, the pain he caused is what the five year sentence was about.

On the other hand, he's sitting in jail doing his time. How would you spend the time? It says something that he comes out of it with...something...if just to pass the time.

I don't know if the book is Chas's way of looking for sympathy or not. Perhaps, he's just dealing with his own mess.

Now if it turns out to be a whiney self-serving account, I reserve the right to take this back, but surely Mr Pink is not looking for sympathy.

After all, it was Mr Pink, in Reservoir Dogs, who said, "You, buddy, are stuck in a situation YOU created. So, if you wanna throw bad looks somewhere, throw 'em at a mirror!"

Surely he gets that.

So now he has a book. Whether he makes money is wholly dependent on sales.

Morgan Pelphrey said...

I find it so interesting how someone can commit a crime and while they are in jail, they can write a book and then as soon as they are released, they can get paid for it. It's like by committing the crime, they gave themselves a perfect opportunity to have a great story to use to make money. I just think that's weird.

Anonymous said...

Once again: does it matter if Mr. Allen was a nice kid if he was involved in the assault on the librarian at Transy? In so many cases like this we fail to consider the victim. Mr. Allen has every right to publish his book, but I think we need to remember the suffering he inflicted on the lady doing her job in Specual Collections.

Anonymous said...

The book could very well be Mr. Allen's ticket out of Lexington, especially if it is made into a film.

I wonder how many of these boys' teachers were really that surprised by their actions, however.

Richard Day said...

November 27, 2010 5:15 PM: Well, I don't know about his teachers but I was plenty surprised.

Morgan: I agree, it does seem strange. I think most folks tend to view jail time as punishment and therefore anything less than unproductive agony seems unsatisfying. Those who view jail time as rehabilitation look at it differently.

November 26, 2010 8:11 PM: Of course, it does not matter at all that he was a nice kid. But I must assume the prosecutors, the judge and the jury took the librarian's assault and abuse into account.

He was...
found guilty
served his time
has a record as an ex-con

What should happen after one pays their debt? We're not talking Bugsy Malone, here. When is it over?

Anonymous said...

Why is he also able to have a facebook account from prison. I guess his family is helping him with this. He is promoting his book on facebook which seems wrong to me. offering to autograph copies for friends.
He should have waited until he got out to write the book.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Day, it's "over" when Allen decides it's over and moves on with his life in a meaningful way. That means, he doesn't look back. Not looking back means he abstains from profiting from he crime. He is the one that doesn't want this to be over, no doubt because he isn't prepared, emotionally and morally, to get a real life. This kid needs to apologize profusely to the lady he traumatized, admit that he's a punk who was involved in a stupid robbery that was not clever (as he would have us believe) but was bungled at every step (they couldn't even operate the elevator AND they wore outrageous disguises that resembled theatrical outfits). Oh, and let's not forget that he tried to sell his co-defendants down the river by tattle-telling on them for gambling and other stupid frat boy activities. He thought *that* would reduce his penalty, but he had nothing to offer in terms of real information that was useful to law enforcement. He was just a cry baby who was afraid to go to prison, grasping at anything trying to save himself, ratting out his buddies for crisp he was involved in also. What a sorry story about a narcissist. And now he's out, trying to jack up their sad little story, trying to make it sound like some sort of well executed heist. Chas, get a real job. You embarrass yourself.