Three of nine people have pleaded guilty to federal charges in a burglary ring that authorities in northeastern Pennsylvania say stole artwork — including works by Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock — as well as antique weapons, sports memorabilia and other items from museums and other institutions over two decades.
Ralph Parry, 45, and Francesco “Frank” Tassiello, 50, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit theft of major artwork, concealment and disposal of major artwork and interstate transportation of stolen property, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reported. Daryl Rinker, 50, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit concealment and disposal of major artwork and interstate transportation of stolen property, the paper reported.
Federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced charges in June against nine Lackawanna County residents in 18 heists from art, historical and sports museums and other institutions in six states between 1999 and 2019.
The thefts included Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock artwork taken in 2005 from the Everhart Museum in Scranton and a Jasper Cropsey work and antique firearms worth hundreds of thousands of dollars taken from Ringwood Manor in New Jersey. Other artwork, antique weapons and gems and gold nuggets were taken from other institutions along with valuable sports championship rings, belts and trophies, authorities said.
Rinker purchased several stolen firearms, including an 1860 rifle worth $250,000, court records said. The weapons were seized during the investigation and remain in FBI custody, prosecutors said.
Rinker’s attorney, Chris Caputo, said that his client was “very sorry” and emphasized that he was not part of the actual thefts. Tassiello’s attorney declined comment and attempts to reach Parry’s attorney were unsuccessful, the Times-Tribune reported. Both men were involved as drivers, court records said.
Plea hearings are scheduled for two other defendants Wednesday. Three others are scheduled for trial later this year and one person remains at large, authorities said.
The Associated Press