Daniel Spiegelman (The Book Thief)

In the spring of 1994, Daniel Spiegelman shinnied up an abandoned
book lift in Columbia University's Butler Library, dismantled a wall,
stole books, reassembled the wall, and snuck back down the shaft. Over
a three-month period he did this more than a dozen times. He eventually
escaped to Europe with roughly $1.8 million in rare books, letters and
manuscripts. When he was caught in the Netherlands, he tried to avoid
extradition to the U.S. by telling the Dutch authorities he was a financier
of the Oklahoma City bombing-- knowing they wouldn't extradite
someone facing the death penalty. Eventually, the FBI got him back to
New York, where he finally stood trial for his crimes. Four years, four
attorneys, one determined librarian, numerous court appearances,
and one guilty plea after the initial crime took place, a federal judge
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York meted out a sentence that ran counter to the plea agreement,
nearly doubling the ordinary sentence for a crime of that magnitude.
In so doing, he created a new justification for departure from Federal
Sentencing Guidelines. Basing his decision on the potential harm
inflicted on society as a whole by the theft of "rare and unique elements
of our cultural heritage," Judge Kaplan redefined the value of such
rare items and justified his sentencing by determining the value to be
beyond the monetary realm.