Three Suspects Who Were Part of a Burglary Ring That Heisted Millions Worth of Artworks Over Two Decades Have Pled Guilty

Three other defendants will go to trial later this year.

Andy Warhol, La Grande Passion. Thieves stole a copy of this silkscreen from the Everhart Museum in Scranton in 2005. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Carillon Importers, Ltd. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Three suspects have entered guilty pleas in the case of a Pennsylvania burglary ring that stole millions worth of artworks and sports memorabilia over a period of over 20 years, including a Jackson Pollock painting and Andy Warhol screen print.

On Friday, 45-year-old Ralph Parry and 50-year-old Francesco “Frank” Tassiello, 50, entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit theft of major artwork, concealment and disposal of major artwork, and interstate transportation of stolen property. Daryl Rinker, also aged 50, pled guilty on the latter two counts.

The three were among nine suspects from Lackawanna County that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania charged last month in connection with 18 heists targeting antique weapons, trophies and medals, and other valuables.

Among the institutions hit were the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, Ogdensburg, New Jersey ($400,000 in gold nuggets in 2011); the USGA Golf Museum and Library, Liberty Corner, New Jersey (Ben Hogan’s U.S. Amateur Trophy and a Hickok Belt in 2012); and the Franklin Mineral Museum in Franklin, New Jersey (various gems and minerals in 2017).

Jackson Pollock, Springs Winter, stolen from the Everhart Museum, Scranton. Photo courtesy of FBI’s National Stolen Art File

Jackson Pollock, Springs Winter, stolen from the Everhart Museum, Scranton. Photo courtesy of FBI’s National Stolen Art File.

The crimes took place across six states between 1999 and 2019.

Defendants Thomas Trotta and Dawn Trotta are expected to enter pleas at a hearing on Wednesday. Damien Boland, Alfred Atsus, and Joseph Atsus have already pled not guilty, with trials set for later this year. The final defendant, Nicolas Dombek remains at large.

Parry and Tassiello were the drivers for some of the robberies, while Rinker was not involved in the initial thefts, but purchased some of the stolen firearms, including a rifle from 1860 worth $250,000, according to court documents.

He is “very sorry,” his lawyer, Chris Caputo, told Scranton’s Times-Tribune.

During investigations, the FBI seized the stolen weapons, which remain in the agency’s custody.

Other items have yet to be recovered, including the Warhol and Pollock works—respectively titled Le Grande Passion and Springs Winter (1949)—which the thieves stole from the Everhart Museum in Scranton in 2005.

The Jasper Cropsey painting Upper Hudson, which the criminals snatched in 2011 from New Jersey’s Ringwood Manor along with hundreds of thousands in antique firearms, is believed to have been burned.

The thieves also likely melted down various gold trophies and championship rings, including the nine World Series rings and other plaques and rings, valued at over $1 million, which they stole from the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Little Falls, New Jersey, in 2014.

 

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