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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New York Man Involved in $2.5 Million Jewelry Theft Sentenced to 40 Months in Federal Prison

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JASON GATTO, 34, of Gardiner, New York, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven to 40 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for burglarizing a Connecticut residence and stealing approximately $2.5 million in jewelry.

According to court documents and statements made in court, GATTO was a member of a group of friends who referred to themselves as the “Jedi Knights” and committed hundreds of residential burglaries in Connecticut and other states along the eastern seaboard, stealing money, jewelry and firearms.

In February 2012, GATTO and Michael Simpson of Montgomery, New York, burglarized a residence in Salisbury, Connecticut, and stole approximately 250 pieces of jewelry valued at more than $2.5 million.  Believing that many of the stolen pieces were not valuable, GATTO discarded them from his car window as he and Simpson drove from the scene.  Later, Simpson showed some of the remaining stolen jewelry to his girlfriend, Martha Dahl, who identified the items as being valuable.  GATTO, Simpson and Dahl then traveled with the jewelry to North Carolina.  On the way, they contacted Miguel Mead and bought him an airline ticket, which he used to immediately fly to North Carolina.  In North Carolina, the jewelry was distributed among the group to sell.  Members of the group then sold pieces of the stolen jewelry to businesses in North Carolina, California, and elsewhere.

After the burglary, the Connecticut State Police recovered some of the stolen jewelry along the side of Route 41 in Salisbury.

Judge Meyer ordered GATTO to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

GATTO was arrested on January 6, 2016.  On March 7, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen property.

Simpson, Dahl and Mead also pleaded guilty.  On February 16, 2016, Mead, of Schenectady, New York, was sentenced to 41 months of imprisonment.  Simpson and Dahl await sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Richards.

Updated August 30, 2016