×

Austintown man linked to $7M heist

Accused in conspiracy connected to jewelry theft in Wisconsin

YOUNGSTOWN — A Mahoning Valley man is in federal custody, accused of taking part in a conspiracy connected to a $7 million jewelry heist in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area.

A criminal complaint was filed Tuesday against James Patrick Quinn, 55, of New Road, Austintown. A video conference bond hearing has been scheduled for Quinn at 10 a.m. Monday before Magistrate Judge Carmen Henderson at the federal courthouse at 125 Market St., Youngstown.

According to an affidavit filed by a special agent for the FBI, there is probable cause that Quinn and others participated in an organized burglary July 12, 2016, of Treiber and Straub Jewelers in suburban Milwaukee and subsequently transported the stolen goods to Ohio.

According to the document, the burglars cut phone and cable lines, removed light bulbs and sprayed foam into external audio alarm systems before prying open the back door to the jewelers. They then disabled the interior alarm and cut a hole into the vault using sledgehammers and power tools, taking more than $7 million in jewelry, diamonds, watches and other valuables.

‘CASING’ THE STORE

Investigators tracked down Quinn through a photo of two white men “casing the Wisconsin store,” one year prior to the burglary. On July 16, 2019, the affidavit noted the FBI agent traveled to the Mahoning Valley and met with local law enforcement officials, including FBI, Ohio BCI and investigators from the Canfield and Boardman police departments. These authorities identified one of the subjects in the picture as Quinn.

On July 18, 2019, authorities tracked down Quinn to his Austintown address. When they approached Quinn, he tried to flee. After a brief chase, Quinn was caught in a nearby woods.

Quinn had dropped a white object during the chase, and authorities recovered a white plastic bag that contained a cellphone, two green money bags, a T-shirt and blue nitrile gloves. One of the money bags contained $8,712 in cash with the other containing $236.

Also recovered from the bag were three paper envelopes that had writing on them indicating carat weight, cut, clarity and three Gemological Institute of America report numbers. According to the FBI agent, these envelopes are consistent with packaging that is used by jewelers to ship and store loose diamonds.

A jeweler with Treiber and Straub confirmed that diamonds identified with the GIA numbers found on Quinn were taken during the July 2016 burglary, the document states.

AUSTINTOWN SITES

This information allowed agents to seek federal search warrants on Quinn’s Austintown properties at 4125 New Road and 90 Kenmar Court and on his 2000 blue Chevrolet S10 truck. The Kenmar Court property is located less than half-mile from a pawn shop.

A search Sept. 19, 2019, of the Kenmar Court residence then under construction netted $2,450 in cash and two cellphones. The New Road search netted a jeweler’s loupe (which is used as a magnification tool to inspect precious stones), two books titled “Diamonds” and “Superthief,” hand-held radios and chargers, a face mask, a ski mask with holes cut out and a head lamp.

An examination of one of the phones showed evidence that it was at or near Brookfield, Wisconsin, near the site of the burglary between 6:36 p.m. and 8:33 p.m. July 11, 2016. The other pings in the hours following show the phone to be near Interstate 94 in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, the direct route that would be taken back to the Mahoning Valley from the Milwaukee area, the affidavit noted.

PAST ARRESTS

According to the affidavit, Quinn’s criminal history shows about 11 arrests between 1993 and 2016, including multiple charges of theft, breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools, criminal trespass, burglary, receiving stolen property and other offenses.

According to federal court records, Quinn on Oct. 4, 2017, was sentenced to two years probation with the first eight months restricted to home confinement with electronic monitoring after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to receive and transport explosive materials that could be used to crack safes at jewelry stores and coin shops. One of his co-defendants in that case was Frank M. Susany Jr. of Boardman.

The affidavit noted that local authorities identified one of the men in the photograph taken outside the burglarized store as “F.S.”

According to that earlier indictment, Susany and Quinn were charged with planning to break into jewelry and coin stores to steal valuables and they would sell these valuables to obtain money to buy explosives, which would be used to crack safes at other jewelry stores and coin shops. This conspiracy dated back to February 2013, according to prosecutors.

gvogrin@tribtoday.com

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)