A group of crooks who stole nearly $4 million in prized art and sports memorabilia — including nine of the famed Yankee Yogi Berra’s World Series rings — has finally cracked — thanks in part to on the DNA left on the broken window.
Federal prosecutors said the gang of 10 thieves carried out a series of robberies between 1999 and 2019, raiding small museums and ending up in one of them with a glass at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastorta, N.Y. Bloodstains left on the debris were related weeks after the crucifixion.
The bandits, Pennsylvania residents in their 40s and 50s, stole everything from late New York’s beloved catcher’s rings to jewel-encrusted solid gold championship boxing belts and expensive horse racing trophies — as well as precious Based on the works of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The gang, whose conspiracy spanned five states and looted about $4 million in loot, has been indicted on counts of conspiracy to steal major works of art and interstate transportation of stolen property, prosecutors announced.
In 2014, the men allegedly stole nine of Berra’s 10 World Series rings when he broke into the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey, in 2014.
They also stole two of the legendary Bomber’s MVP plaques and seven other championship rings worth more than $1 million in the speedy theft, prosecutors said.
At the time, Bella responded in classic fashion.
“Well, I know I have them,” he said, according to New York Times.
Bella’s ring — along with other jewelry, belts and trophies stolen by the gang during its kleptocratic reign — may have been melted down into metal discs or bars and sold in New York City for hundreds or thousands, officials said. Selling for USD.
Many of the stolen paintings are still blowing in the wind, authorities said.
Over a 20-year period, thieves targeted at least 16 museums, including those in other states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and North Dakota, according to prosecutors.
“It’s like losing a child,” said Charles Barber, curator of the Everhart Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Warhol’s lithograph “Le Grande Passion” and Pollack’s “Springs Winter” were held in 2005 stolen, The Times.
“There was a pain of loss. But now that they’ve identified nine suspects in this case, it’s sort of over.”
Barber said there was always the possibility, albeit a remote one, that the paintings would be recovered.
“We wanted to be able to do an exhibition called: ‘Art Was Stolen, But Now It’s Returned,'” Barber said.
In 2006, thieves stole three antique firearms worth a combined $1 million from Space Farm: Zoo and Museum in Wantage, New Jersey, prosecutors said.
In 2012, they picked up 14 trophies and other awards worth more than $300,000 from the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York, officials said.
“We’re going to really like what we have,” Janet Terhune, the museum’s director, told The Times on Thursday.
The following year, they allegedly stole five trophies worth more than $400,000 from the National Horse Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
One of the alleged thieves, Nicholas Dombeck, 53, later burned a $500,000 Jasper Cropsey painting titled “Upper Hardwood,” according to an indictment. Son” painting, which was stolen in 2011 to prevent investigators from finding it.
During a 2015 break-in at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastorta, one of the burglars allegedly cut himself with a shard of broken window glass — helping police track him down through his DNA nearly a decade later.
Dombek was charged on Thursday along with Damien Boland, 47, Alfred Atsus, 47, and Joseph Atsus, 48.
Five other men, including Thomas Trotta, 48, Frank Tassiello, 50, Daryl Rinker, 50, Dawn Trotta, 51, and Ralph Parry, 45, have also been charged.
Dombek remains at large and is considered a fugitive, authorities said.
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