OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A parolee with ten prior felony convictions, eight of them burglary-related, has been arrested and charged in connection with the theft of a Gold Rush-era jewelry box that was taken from the Oakland Museum of California in January, authorities said Tuesday.
Oakland police Lt. Oliver Cunningham said Andre Taray Franklin, 45, of Hayward, is only charged in connection with the theft of the jewelry box, which is worth about $800,000, on Jan. 9 but he’s also a suspect in a Nov. 9 break-in when gold nuggets and Gold Rush-era pistols were taken. He said the investigation into the matter is “extremely active.”
The jewelry box, which was created between 1869 and 1878 by San Francisco goldsmith A. Andrews, has been recovered and was displayed at the museum today next to the podium where the arrest of Franklin was discussed by Cunningham, police Chief Howard Jordan, Mayor Jean Quan and museum director Lori Fogarty.
Fogarty said the gold nuggets and the pistols haven’t been recovered at this time.
She said, “It is a happy day for Oakland and the state of California. We have our beautiful and historic jewelry box back in the museum and a suspect in custody.”
Jordan said, “We’re bringing back valuable art to Oakland and we’re very excited about it.”
Quan said the jewelry box is “part of our physical history and is priceless to us.”
She said children who visit the museum like to look at the jewelry box “because gold fascinates them.”