An Ohio man is facing federal charges after prosecutors say he is connected to a $7 million jewelry heist at a store in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 2016.
According to an affidavit obtained by TMJ4 News, City of Brookfield police responded to an overnight burglary at Treiber & Straub Jewelers on West Capitol Drive on the morning of July 12, 2016.
The burglars' break-in to the jewelry store appears to be somewhat thought-out. According to investigators at the time, burglars cut phone and cable lines, removed light bulbs from lights outside the business and sprayed foam onto audio alarm systems. Only then did the suspects pry open the back door and step inside, according to the affidavit.
The burglars then proceeded to disable the interior alarm system and cut a hole into the jewelry's vault using sledgehammers and power tools. Inside, the suspects stole over $7 million in jewelry, diamonds, watches and other valuable items, the affidavit states.
Surveillance video captured the suspects breaking into the business and walking about with the stolen goods, federal prosecutors said. Detectives with Brookfield PD later found blood in the employees' womens restroom, and submitted it to the Wisconsin Crime Lab. The lab could not identify a suspect other than that the person was male.
About a year before the burglary, Brookfield police received a call from Treiber & Straub, who told them that surveillance cameras captured two people peering into the business with flashlights. Detectives determined that they must be either casing the business, or intended to steal from it, according to the affidavit.
Three years later, in July of 2019, federal investigators were called to Youngstown, Ohio, where local police said they had identified suspects seen in surveillance video.
They said that one of the suspects was James Patrick Quinn, known to local law as a professional burglar from the area who travels the country burglarizing jewelry stores. Court records in Ohio show that Quinn was arrested 25 times between 1982 and 2014, the affidavit states, including breaking and entering, thefts, and bribery, among other offenses.
The federal investigator who detailed the investigation in the affidavit then received a warrant to swab Quinn for DNA.
At Quinn's Youngstown residence, law enforcement found him but he decided to try to escape on foot. But he was soon caught and law enforcement orally swapped him for DNA. Following a DNA test, the blood found in the Brookfield jewelers did not match that of Quinn, according to the affidavit.
A bag Quinn had at the time contained bank information as well as paper envelopes that had writings indicating carat weight, cut, clarity and Gemological Institute of America report numbers.
Federal investigators say that information matches that used by jewelers to ship and store loose diamonds.
Investigators then sent that information to Treiber & Straub, who confirmed the information recorded jewels stolen from Treiber & Straub in Brookfield three years before.
Investigators, with a warrant, returned to Quinn's residence and seized $2,450, jewelers’ loupes, a book titled “Diamonds,” a book titled “Superthief,” hand-held radios and chargers, a face mask, a ski mask with holes cut out, a head lamp and several cell phones, according to the affidavit.
The cell phone's GPS then showed to federal investigators that the phone had been in the vicinity of Treiber & Straub in Brookfield, Wisconsin, as well as areas between Brookfield and Youngstown, Ohio, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit concludes there is probable cause that on July 12, 2016 Quinn brought stolen goods across two state lines, from Brookfield to Youngstown, thus violating Transportation of Stolen Goods in Interstate Commerce and Conspiracy to Commit Offense Against the United States, both federal felonies.