Three men charged in explosives indictment

Staff report


A federal grand jury indictment charges three Mahoning County men with conspiring to transport explosives that could be used to crack safes, the U.S. attorney has announced.

Indicted are Frank Michael Susany Jr., 52, of Boardman; Robert Thomas Courtney Jr., 44, of North Jackson; and James Patrick Quinn, 51, of Youngstown, all having been arrested Wednesday.

All three pleaded innocent at their arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Youngstown before U.S. Magistrate George J. Limbert, who appointed lawyers for them and ordered them to remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing in federal court in Cleveland next week.

The three defendants are charged with receipt and transportation of explosive materials, conspiracy and operation of an apparatus to interfere with the transmission of communications and signals.

Susany, Courtney and Quinn conspired from February through April 2013 to receive and transport explosive materials that could be used to crack safes at jewelry and coin shops, according to the indictment that was unsealed Wednesday.

It was part of the conspiracy that the trio would break into jewelry and coin stores to steal valuables; that the money obtained by selling the stolen items would be used to buy explosive materials; and that once they obtained the explosive materials, they would use the materials to crack safes at other jewelry and coin shops, the indictment said.

On April 19, 2013, Susany possessed and used a device that jammed cellphone communications and store alarm systems connected to cellular backups to disable a coin store’s alarm system, the indictment said.

On that day, the indictment said, Susany also possessed crowbars and a two-way radio and broke into a coin store in Westlake.

Susany had recruited a confidential FBI informant Feb. 13, 2013, to obtain plastic explosives; and Susany and Quinn recruited the same informant on March 22, 2013, to break into jewelry and coin shops and steal valuables, the indictment said.

In 1993, Susany could have received many years in prison after police confiscated about $600,000 worth of stolen jewelry in his residence, but he was sentenced to just two years, said Special Prosecutor Rob Glickman.

The light sentence resulted from a fix under the administration of then-Mahoning County Prosecutor James A. Philomena, Glickman said when Philomena was indicted in 2000.

Philomena, who admitted case-fixing, pleaded guilty to federal racketeering and bribery charges in November 1999 and to state bribery and perjury charges in October 2001.

Philomena was released in 2005 after serving six years in state and federal prisons. He died in 2007.

The current federal case against Susany, Courtney and Quinn is being prosecuted by David M. Toepfer, a Youngstown-based assistant U.S. attorney, after an FBI investigation.

Defense lawyers are Joseph Gardner for Susany, Ross Smith for Quinn, and Jeff Lazarus for Courtney.

Lazarus is with the federal public defender’s office in Cleveland.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent.

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