At a literary event in London's Hyde Park to promote his acclaimed new book, "Freedom," a brazen thief swiped the author's glasses from his face and left a $150,000 ransom note in his wake, reports the Telegraph.
The man, who jumped into the lake outside the Serpentine Gallery in the park, was captured after a police helicopter was scrambled to search for him.
Event attendees reported that Franzen was "extremely disgruntled" after the episode
It was the second, high profile incident for "The Corrections" author while abroad. Last week, thousands of first-edition copies of "Freedom" had to be recalled after a typesetter's error led to the incorrect version of the book being printed in Britain.
A British blogger summed up the events: "The US puts Franzen on the cover of 'Time'; the UK misplaces his commas and steals his glasses," wrote Sarah Drinkwater.
Franzen gained notoriety among the nation's legion of Oprah Winfrey fans in 2001 when he expressed concern that her selection of "The Corrections" for her book club might dissuade men from reading the book. The author and talk show host have since kissed and made up: Oprah selected "Freedom" as a recent book club pick.