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Jonathan Franzen's Glasses Held for $100K Ransom

Bestselling author Jonathan Franzen. His latest novel is "Freedom."
HarperCollins/Greg Martin
The bestselling author of "Freedom" has granted freedom to a thief who'd made a spectacle of himself.

Jonathan Franzen declined to press charges after two men swiped his eyeglasses at a book launch party in London and demanded a ransom for their safe return.

A story on the website of a trade magazine, The Bookseller, tells how two men claiming to be employed by a book publisher crashed the party at the Serpentine Gallery for Franzen's new novel, "Freedom."

One of them grabbed Franzen's spectacles; the other gave him a note with a Hotmail address.

The note read: "$100,000 - Your glasses are yours again!"

BBC News reports a helicopter was called to chase the culprits who'd hightailed it into Hyde Park.

One of the men pursued by police was captured after he jumped into the Serpentine, a 28-acre lake.

The 27-year-old suspect was released after the glasses were recovered.

Franzen declined to press charges.

Bookseller news editor Graeme Neill, who was at the book party, told the BBC the episode was "frankly quite bizarre."

It was, however, merely the latest unfortunate incident dogging Franzen.

Last week, thousands of copies of "Freedom" were recalled due to a typesetting error in the British edition. The publisher said readers could exchange their misprinted copies for new ones in which the "minor corrections" were made.