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OAKLAND, Calif. – Yesterday, a federal grand jury in Oakland indicted Andre Taray Franklin, charging him with Theft of Major Artwork and Unlawful Concealment and Disposition of Stolen Major Artwork, United States Attorney MELINDA HAAG announced.
According to the indictment, Franklin, 45, is alleged to have stolen a jewelry box made of California gold and adorned with richly gold veined quartz made between 1869 and 1878 with a value of at least $100,000 from the Oakland Museum of California, on or about January 7, 2013. In addition, the indictment charges Franklin with unlawfully concealing and disposing of the historic jewelry box between January and February 2013.
An affidavit prepared in connection with a criminal complaint filed in the same matter alleges that the historic jewelry box was stolen from the Oakland Museum of California during a burglary on January 7, 2013. The burglary was captured on a surveillance video which shows that the crime was committed by a lone individual who used an axe to break into the museum and smash display cases to steal the historic jewelry box and other items. The affidavit also explains that Franklin was first identified as a suspect after DNA from an axe cover found on the grounds of the museum following the burglary was compared to a database of DNA profiles, and Franklin was reported as a likely match. At the time of his arrest on March 3, 2013, Franklin was wearing shoes consistent in physical appearance with the museum burglar’s and with soles consistent with footprints found in the burglar’s flight path on the museum grounds. In addition, Franklin’s phone contained a blurry picture of the jewelry box and incriminating text messages. Finally, the jewelry box was recovered from an address in Oakland identified in the incriminating text messages on Franklin’s phone.
Franklin is currently being held in Santa Rita Jail on a parole violation. His initial appearance in federal court will be held before the duty magistrate in Oakland when Franklin’s parole hold is lifted.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of Theft of Major Artwork and Unlawful Concealment and Disposition of Stolen Major Artwork in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 668(b)(1) and (b)(2) is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Brian C. Lewis is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Janice Pagsanjan. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Oakland Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Franklin must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.