Austintown searches lead to $7 million jewelry heist suspect
Two searches of properties in Austintown have led to the arrest of a man suspected of being involved in a $7 million jewelry heist.
According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, 55-year-old James Patrick Quinn was involved in a jewelry heist at Treiber and Straub Jewelers in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburb where diamonds, jewelry, watches, and other items were stolen.
According to Brookfield, Wisconsin Police, on the morning of July 12, 2016, video surveillance showed burglars cut phone and cable lines at the jewelry store, removing light bulbs from exterior lights, spraying foam into external audio alarm systems, and prying the back door open.
The burglars then disabled the interior alarm system and cut a hole into the vault using sledgehammers and power tools.
Plans for the burglary may have started a year before the break-in. In July 2015, video surveillance showed two men with flashlights peering into the jewelry store’s windows.
Two months later, a neighbor called police after spotting two men in a wooded area outside the store. The men got away, but the next morning an employee of Treiber and Straub discovered that the store’s phone and internet connections had been cut
According to the FBI, in July of last year, an agent showed the surveillance video to Boardman and Canfield Police who identified one of the men as Quinn. The affidavit identifies a second suspect only with the initials "F.S.".
Quinn has a lengthy record according to the affidavit with 11 arrests between 1993 and 2016.
In 2017, Quinn was convicted on a federal charge of conspiracy to receive and transport explosive materials. Investigators say he and two other Valley men acquired explosives that could be used to crack safes. Quinn was placed on probation and sentenced to eight months of home confinement.
Based on evidence gathered from the Wisconson jewelry store heist investigation, in September 2019 officials searched homes on the 4000 block of New Road and on Kenmar Court in Austintown where they found jewelers' eye loupes, a black ski mask, and cell phones. According to call logs on the phones, multiple calls were made between Youngstown and the area near the jewelry store.
Agents also found a copy of the book "Superthief", the story of Phil Christopher, a career criminal, Mafia associate, and one of the most successful bank burglars in the United States, authored by former Cleveland police officer Rick Porrello who has penned several books about organized crime in Northeast Ohio.
In addition to finding another book titled "Diamonds", agents say they discovered three envelopes that had writing on them indicating carat weight, cut, clarity -- all criteria used by the Gemological Institute of America to gauge the value of diamonds.
Quinn has now been charged with interstate transportation of stolen goods and conspiracy.
During a video hearing held in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, a judge ordered that Quinn be held by U.S. Marshals pending another hearing next week.