OAKLAND -- A federal charge of stealing an object of cultural heritage from a museum has been filed against a parolee who is suspected of taking a Gold Rush-era jewelry box valued at $805,000 from the Oakland Museum of California on Jan. 9, authorities said Tuesday.
The federal complaint against Andre Taray Franklin, 45, of Hayward, was filed Friday in U.S. District Court. Franklin was already in the custody of state authorities, held on a charge of possession of stolen property in connection with the burglary.
It is believed the state case against Franklin will soon be dropped so the federal prosecution can begin.
Under federal law, a theft of major artwork from a museum is illegal.
If convicted, Franklin, who has 10 prior felony convictions, could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal court documents.
In an affidavit included with the federal complaint, FBI Special Agent Beth F. Alvarez said that Franklin's DNA matches DNA recovered from the cover of an ax handle officials believe was used to break into the museum and steal the jewelry box.
The shoes that Franklin was wearing when he was arrested March 3 by Oakland police match footprints found in a muddy area outside the museum, the document states.
Also, Franklin matches the physical description of the burglar who was captured on museum surveillance video, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit says that Franklin sold the jewelry box to an unidentified business owner for $1,500 after the theft, then threatened to report the same man to police if he didn't pay Franklin $10,000.
Police had already identified the business and its owner and recovered the jewelry box. Investigators have not publicly identified either, saying the case is still open.
Besides the Jan. 9 theft, Franklin is also suspected but has not been charged in a Nov. 12 break-in at the museum that resulted in the loss of gold nuggets and Gold Rush-era pistols.
Investigating such thefts is uncommon for the FBI and it is very rare for such a crime to be charged federally, authorities said.
The FBI does run the National Stolen Art File, a computerized index of reported stolen art and cultural properties for the use of law enforcement agencies across the world.

Declan duffy, real ira, alan ryan, Dublin gardai, INLA, Eamon Kelly, Dessie O Hare

Declan duffy, real ira, alan ryan, Dublin gardai, INLA, Eamon Kelly, Dessie O Hare
INLA boss Declan 'Whacker' Duffy has been released from prison despite being sentenced for life in July 2010 for the murder of a British soldier. Duffy has already meet up with his fellow Armagh INLA associate Dessie O’Hare.
Gardai are on high alert after the 39- year-old was set free last weekend and immediately made his way to Dublin, where he is staying with the mother of his two children. The return of Duffy is a hugely significant and worrying development, with senior gardai expecting him to make a move to fill the power vacuum that exists in Dublin's gangland following the Real IRA internal battle for power and the departure of several major drug dealers from the city.
Officers are shocked that Duffy has re-emerged and thought they had seen the end of him when a judge ordered that he serve a minimum of 24 years in jail after admitting the murder of Sergeant Michael Newman in Derby, England, in 1992. However, the killer managed to use the fact that the slaying was an act of terror to successfully argue that he should be freed under the Good Friday Agreement, hundreds of killers, serial killers and others have benefited from the terms of what has become known as the ‘Good Felons Agreement’, with many released terrorists going on to commit further serious crimes.
Despite renouncing the INLA when he was sentenced, gardai do not believe Duffy will lead an honest life and have already observed him drinking with several senior criminals. Sources say he is a ruthless and violent criminal who takes pleasure in inflicting pain on people. The Armagh-born INLA man has bragged about how he enjoys kneecapping victims and hearing them scream.
One senior source said: "We couldn't believe it when the word came through that he was back. He was spotted drunk at least four times this week and is already associating with well-known criminals.
"Declan is not a man to rest on his laurels. He knows the Real IRA is imploding and that gangland is up in the air after Eamon Kelly was murdered last year and the lads who murdered Alan Ryan have fled the country”.
"We think he has calculated that Dublin is rife for taking over. He is right too and we are keeping a very, very close eye on developments, as is the Special Branch. Where Duffy is, violence and death and destruction inevitably follow."
Whacker Duffy led the INLA in the infamous 'Ballymount Bloodbath' in 1999. During the notorious incident, an INLA active service unit took six men hostage when they went to a factory in the Ballymount industrial estate to demand money from the owner. The men were viciously tortured, but when 12 of their friends arrived a mass brawl ensued and INLA volunteer Patrick 'Bo' Campbell died after being struck with a machete.
Duffy was caught with a note detailing exactly what happened in Ballymount and was jailed for nine years. When he was released in February 2007 he reorganised the INLA and set about taking over from drug dealing gangs in Dublin 8. He lived in an apartment on Hanover Street with his longterm partner, which was not far from where gang boss Freddie Thompson lived.
He decided to target Thompson and took over the doors of pubs and clubs around the city centre and started dealing drugs. He stepped on the toes of three senior drug dealers that were supplied by Thompson and successfully demanded protection money to allow them to operate. It was common knowledge that Duffy once acted as muscle for 'the Border Fox' Dessie O'Hare and criminals were scared stiff of him because of this and what happened at Ballymount.
When Thompson heard of the protection racket he was furious and the pair had a massive row in a pub on Francis Street. Duffy said that he was in the area to stay and that if Freddie did not give up his territory then he would be murdered.
Freddie took out a €10,000 contract against Duffy, which led the terror chief to say: "If any member of the INLA or our political wing is harmed, the INLA will wipe them out.
"If they think they can run off to Spain and live happy ever after, they should think again. They will be hunted down."
Despite his talk, Duffy took to wearing a bullet-proof vest and had two permanent bodyguards. In September 2007 he placed a pipe bomb under Thompson's car but it didn't explode. Duffy took his plan to another level on November 22 when INLA volunteer Denis Dwyer was arrested on Camden Street with an AK- 47 in his carrier bag. He was on his way to shoot Fat Freddie. When Thompson heard of the incident he knew that Declan Duffy would not give up until he was dead and fled to Spain.
As well as taking on Thompson's mob, Duffy also beat up the head of the IRA in Dublin and took over the Provos' protection rackets. Gardaí were alarmed by how quickly Duffy's control was growing, and members of the Special Detective Unit started to take a keen interest in him.
He had joined the INLA when he was just 13 after his brother was shot dead by the British army in 1987. He had a long criminal record and had served a five-year sentence for escaping from custody at gunpoint. In August 2007 gardaí received a tip-off that a man had been kidnapped and was being held hostage at a house in Tallaght.
When armed Emergency Response Unit officers raided the house, they discovered a 21-year-old man bound and gagged lying naked in the bath upstairs. He was in agony and covered in blood, having been attacked with a wheel brace and a broom handle. The torture went on for a number of hours.
The victim was a son of a small West Dublin businessman, who the gang was trying to extort money from. Nine people were arrested in a downstairs room and Duffy was among them. The victim was so scared that he refused to make a complaint.
In June 2008, Duffy was arrested outside the home of a prominent businessman in Cork after gardai foiled a suspected kidnap operation. He was charged with INLA membership and remanded in custody to Portlaoise Prison.
In May 2009, when he surprisingly pleaded guilty before the special criminal court and publically denounced the INLA, he was jailed for four years and was also arrested on foot of a European arrest warrant for the murder of Michael Newman.
The 34-year-old army recruitment officer was shot dead in Derby by three INLA men, including Duffy and Joseph 'Mad Dog' Magee. Magee was jailed for 25 years in 2004 on the understanding he would be released under the Good Friday agreement.
After completing his sentence for INLA membership in April 2010, he was extradited to Britain, where he pleaded guilty to the murder of Sergeant Newman. The court heard how the soldier was a "soft target" because he was unarmed. He was shot at point-blank range in the head in what the judge described as a "heinous crime". He sentenced Duffy to life imprisonment, saying that he should be behind bars for a minimum of 24 years. However, he was freed last week after just two and a half years due to the terms of the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.