Andrea Taray Franklin, a felon with over 10 convictions for crimes related to theft, has been arrested in connection with the burglary of the Oakland Museum of California. The same gold inlaid jewelry box, created by a California artisan somewhere between 1869 and 1878 and worth more than $805,000, was stolen once before – in 1978. Alameda County prosecutors now believe that Franklin was responsible for both burglaries and other items, like a few gold nuggets and historic pistols, have never been recovered.
It will not be surprising if the federal government becomes involved in this case as art theft is considered a federal crime. Under the United States Code, § 668, theft of an historic artifact carries with it a penalty of 10 years in prison and a hefty fine. The FBI refers to this particular crime as “stealing history” and has a special Art Crime Team consisting of 14 federal agents and 3 special attorneys that are used to prosecute offenders.
Suffice it to say that when objects of cultural significance are stolen from museum property, law enforcement officials take it very seriously. In Franklin’s case, it is believed that both times the beautiful quartz and gold jewelry box was stolen, he was behind it. Technically, Franklin was charged with receiving stolen property, but further charges are already certainly in the works. Thus, Franklin may face quite a large fine and some time in prison for his theft; one of the missing pistols that has not been recovered was in a picture found on Franklin’s cell phone.
If you or someone you know has been accused of theft, contact an Oakland Theft Attorney at Summit Defense for a free initial consultation.