Oakland Parolee Suspected in Museum Thefts; Priceless Gold Artifact Recovered
On Sunday March 3, Andre T. Franklin was arrested on charges of violating parole and suspicion of burglary according to news reports at The Oakland Tribune. Franklin is a 45-year-old parolee convicted on a charge of possession of stolen property.
Franklin is accused of burglarizing the Oakland Museum of California; in addition to being arrested on suspicion of burglary, he was charged once more with possession of stolen property. Police believe that he is responsible for two burglaries which have occurred recently at the museum.
Franklin was pulled over by authorities while driving in the 600 block of East 15th Street in Oakland on Sunday morning; he was arrested by Sgt. Serge Babka, and refused to talk about the burglaries. He would also not give police any information regarding where he lives.
The museum was burglarized on November 12 of 2012 and again on January 9 of this year. Gold Rush-era pistols and gold nuggets were stolen in the November break-in. A Gold Rush-era jewelry box reported to be worth $805,000 and quartz were taken in the January burglary. Detectives in the case uncovered evidence which helped them locate the jewelry box, which was recovered at an unidentified location on Monday.
Thus far the Gold Rush-era pistols and gold nuggets have not been recovered; authorities said they suspect Franklin may have sold the items. News reports indicate that Franklin has a long criminal history and has been convicted on felony charges related to auto theft, commercial burglary and other crimes a total of ten times. He is currently being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail.
The historic jewelry box which is considered a 19th century artifact has been stolen once before in the 1970s; it was years before the box was recovered from an auction house, placed for auction by a family who claimed they had “inherited” the box. Museum director Lori Fogarty said that the jewelry box would not be locked away, because it is the museum’s mission and responsibility to share California’s history with the public. Security at the museum has been beefed up since the two burglaries.
Police reviewed museum surveillance camera footage in their pursuit of the suspect, and said that entrance was made into the museum from an outdoor garden by breaking through a locked door in both burglaries.
Oakland burglary attorneys understand the seriousness of being charged with burglary; commercial burglary, also known as second-degree burglary, subjects an individual who is convicted to up to three years in county jail if charged as a felony. Aggravating factors such as previous criminal convictions can lead to enhanced sentencing.
Individuals who are arrested for or charged with burglary or any theft-related crime should consult with a competent Oakland criminal defense lawyer at once for strong and effective legal guidance and representation.