ATTLEBORO — The alleged mastermind of the “Ocean’s Eleven,” high-tech, $2 million gold heist at an Attleboro jewelry company a decade ago is scheduled to stand trial on Monday.
Sean D. Murphy, 53, the reputed leader of sophisticated thieves dubbed the Lynn Breakers, has been held in jail since his arrest in January 2009 in connection with the daring break-in at the E.A. Dion Co. in June 2008.
In the meantime, Murphy was subsequently tried and convicted in federal court in Ohio in 2011 for carrying out a similar burglary in January 2009 at a Brinks armored car facility in Columbus, Ohio. The $1.2 million Brinks heist occurred just five days before his arrest in the E.A. Dion break-in.
A pre-trial conference held Friday in Fall River Superior Court.
Federal and state prosecutors say the men wore dark Ninja-style clothing, like the thieves in the movie “Ocean’s Eleven,” and used power saws to cut through the roofs of the buildings and cellphone jammers to foil burglar alarms.
Murphy briefly had a lawyer in the E.A. Dion case but has represented himself since 2010. He has battled Bristol County jail authorities over access to the jail legal library and a typewriter or word processor, according to court records.
During the course of his federal and state cases, Murphy has also battled federal authorities over a four-month period he was held at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls.
Murphy argued he should not have been kept at the facility and his time there deprived of him of his right to a speedy trial and pursuit of civil claims against Bristol County jail officials. A federal magistrate judge in Rhode Island rejected Murphy claims on technical grounds.
Murphy has been more successful appealing in federal criminal case. Representing himself in U.S. District Court in Ohio in the Brinks heist, Murphy managed to get two of four counts against him thrown out and his sentence reduced, according to court records.
Authorities say Murphy, a man with a 15-page criminal record who wrote a manifesto on how to carry out high-tech burglaries, worked with at least two other men to disable the alarm with a cell phone jammer and cut a hole in the roof of the Dion facility.
They wore protective rubber gloves on the night of June 7 and slipped away in a Budget Rental truck with a 2,000-pound safe, gold plating, gems and jewelry, including New York Giants Super Bowl rings, according to court records.
Murphy and his cohorts allegedly drove to a Lynn furniture company he operated, where the safe was cut up into 10 pieces and its contents removed, according to the records.
The safe was later recovered in a Central Massachusetts town, along with three pairs of high-top Nike sneakers, after one of the suspects began cooperating with authorities, according to court records.
Attleboro police, working in conjunction with state police and the FBI, recovered New York Giants Super Bowl rings, gold and silver and other valuables stolen from E.A. Dion, according to court records.
While the Dion case was pending, Murphy was tried and convicted of carrying out the Brinks burglary in the same fashion.
Murphy ran into problems when the high-intensity torch he was using to cut into a vault containing about $92 million in cash began smoking, burning some of the money, before the men grabbed almost $400,000 before fleeing, according to court records.
During the burglary Murphy and his associates had scattered cigarette butts and drink containers. The men had earlier purchased the items for homeless people in Columbus so they could get their DNA to throw off investigators, according to court records.
The men later destroyed the partially burned bills and washed the remaining cash to remove the smell of smoke. Brinks estimated the loss at $2.7 million which Murphy and two defendants have been ordered to pay back, according to court records.
Two of Murphy’s associates already pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison.
Murphy was convicted and was initially sentenced to 20 years on four related counts. He appealed and got two charges thrown out and his sentence reduced to 13 years.
In part of his argument to reduce his sentence, Murphy argued he wrote a report at the request of a federal marshal on how to make the courthouse more secure after the official learned of his background, according to court records.
Murphy faces trial in Fall River Superior Court on two counts of possession of burglar’s tools, four counts of receiving stolen property and one count of breaking and entering. An indictment charging him with attempting to break and enter into the now defunct Jostens company building was previously dismissed.
Murphy has pleaded innocent.
If he is convicted, Murphy will face a second trial on a charge of being a habitual criminal, a felony offense which carries the same maximum 10-year prison sentence as breaking and entering.
However, a conviction for being a habitual criminal carries no chance of parole or early release.