Ohio man sentenced to federal prison in $4.7M Brookfield jewelry heist

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — An Ohio man was recently sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison in connection to a $4.7 million jewelry heist in Brookfield in 2016.

James P. Quinn, 57, was sentenced to a 57-month term of federal imprisonment on Aug. 18. Quinn previously pleaded guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Quinn and at least two others burglarized Treiber & Straub Jewelers in Brookfield on the night of July 11, 2016.

According to a criminal complaint, the burglars cut the phone and cable lines, removed light bulbs from exterior lights, sprayed foam into external audio alarm systems, and broke the back door open. They then disabled the interior alarm system and cut a hole in a reinforced concrete wall to breach the store’s vault using sledgehammers and power tools. They took nearly $5 million in jewelry, diamonds, watches, and other items.

Surveillance footage captured three individuals breaking into the business and carrying out the burglary on July 11-12, 2016.

On July 12, 2016, Brookfield Police Department officers found blood inside the store’s employee-only bathroom. The blood was collected as evidence. It was determined the unknown sample was from a male individual. To date, the complaint says, no match has been found.

A year prior to the burglary on July 29, 2015, Brookfield police received a call from Treiber & Straub because two individuals were caught on video surveillance cameras carrying flashlights and peering into the business’s windows around 4:15 a.m.

On Sept. 14, 2015, a person who lives close to Treiber & Straub saw two men “acting suspiciously” in a wooded area that separated the citizen’s home from the jewelry store. The citizen used a flashlight to find the subjects, who then ran away. The next morning, Treiber & Straub employees discovered there were no phone or internet connections. A technician found the lines had been cut underground in the same area where the citizen saw the two men.

On July 16, 2019, Brookfield law enforcement officials met with Youngstown, Ohio law enforcement officials, including the FBI’s Youngstown Resident Agency, regarding the Treiber & Straub incidents from both 2015 and 2016. Still photos from video surveillance “casing” the store in 2015 were shown to Ohio investigators. The complaint says they identified one of the men as Quinn. Quinn was known as a professional burglar from the Youngstown area. The complaint says he is known to travel throughout the country committing jewelry store burglaries.

A federal search warrant for mouth/cheek swabs from Quinn was approved on July 18, 2019. According to the complaint, Quinn was under federal supervision at the time. When Quinn was found outside his home address, the complaint says he fled from case agents on foot with a white bag. When he was detained, he no longer had the bag.

A white plastic bag was eventually found partially buried in the wooded area, close to where Quinn was detained. The complaint says Quinn denied any knowledge or ownership of the bag. Quinn was released after an oral swab search warrant was executed.

The complaint says the bag contained a cell phone, nearly $9,000, Quinn’s driver’s license, and bank paperwork. The bag also contained three paper envelopes indicating carat weight, cut, clarity, and three Gemological Institute of America (GIA) report numbers. A Treiber & Straub employee confirmed that the three GIA numbers matched with diamonds that were taken during the 2016 burglary.

During a search warrant of Quinn’s home, two additional cell phones were seized, as well as jewelers’ loupes, a book titled “Diamonds” a book titled “Superthief,” hand-held radios and chargers, a face mask, a ski mask, and a headlamp.

The complaint says Quinn’s phone contained a log of GPS coordinates, which put him in Brookfield on July 11, 2016.

Quinn has been prosecuted three times for other federal offenses in the past. The complaint says Quinn’s criminal history shows 11 arrests between 1993 and 2016, including multiple counts of theft, breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools, criminal trespass, burglary, and receiving stolen property.

During sentencing, Judge Adelman said Quinn had the ability to earn legitimate income and had not been deterred by prior terms of imprisonment. The DOJ says Quinn will also be responsible for more than $4 million in forfeiture and restitution.

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