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Tiffany Expert Gets Two Years

March 10, 2000 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ An expert on Tiffany windows was sentenced to more than two years in prison for teaming with a graveyard bandit to sell valuable stained-glass stolen from cemeteries.

Alastair Duncan, 57, pleaded Thursday for leniency, telling a federal judge that his business was ruined, his family shattered and his earning potential destroyed.

``I’ve been shunned by my neighbors and art associates,″ he said. ``I’ve paid a horrible, horrible price. I will certainly die spiritually if incarcerated, as will my children.″

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa sentenced him to two years and three months in prison for conspiracy to export stolen property and other charges. He was ordered to make restitution of $220,000, the value of a 9-foot-tall, 5-foot-wide Tiffany window stolen in 1993 from the Salem Fields cemetery. Duncan could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

The judge said Duncan knew the window was stolen when he resold it. Griesa said Duncan arranged with the graveyard bandit to get other glass created by the late Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The graveyard robber, Anthony Casamassina, testified against Duncan in a plea bargain and said he often broke into cemeteries and mausoleums, snatching 20 to 30 stained glass windows since the mid-1980s. He used a book Duncan had written to learn about Tiffany glass.

Casamassina pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export stolen property and exporting stolen property and will be sentenced on May 30. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Duncan remains free on bail pending a surrender date.