Diamond necklace up for bid after strange journey

A 16-inch diamond necklace apparently swallowed by a jewel thief was put up for auction on eBay Tuesday by its owner, who hopes to cash in on the gems’ unusual history, Reuters reported.

Police reportedly said they recovered the necklace, studded with 83 diamonds, from a man who was charged with grand theft after X-rays showed the missing necklace and two loose diamonds in his digestive system last week, Reuters reported.

The incident was widely reported by the news media and the necklace became the butt of jokes on the talk shows, prompting a flood of phone calls to Harold’s Jewelers in Boca Raton.

“We have been getting so much attention over the matter, we decided to auction the item on eBay,” store owner Lee Mendelson reportedly said on Tuesday.

It is listed on the Internet auction site as “Harold’s Intestinal Treasure Diamond Necklace.” Along with a description of the necklace, is a reprint of the Boca Raton News coverage of the theft and links to similar stories that ran in Reuters and the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

He set the minimum bid at $75,000 for the necklace, which contains nearly 30 carats of diamonds. He said he expected it to sell for well over $100,000 in the 10-day auction.

“It’s a valuable piece on its own regardless of its provenance,” store employee Josh Stefanoff reportedly said.

The suspect, 38-year-old Mark Kennedy, went to the store on July 31 and asked to see a ring, police said. While the store owner was distracted, Kennedy grabbed the jewels, stuffed them into his shorts and left in his car, according to the arrest report.

Police pulled Kennedy over on Interstate 95 but could not find the missing jewelry on his person or in his car, Reuters reported. They did find the end of a marijuana cigarette and arrested him on a drug possession charge, the police report said.

Kennedy became ill at the police station and was taken to a hospital, where X-rays solved the mystery of the missing loot, Reuters reported. Kennedy told police he had swallowed the loose gems and hidden the necklace in his rectum. But the doctor who examined the X-rays was puzzled by the necklace’s position high up in his digestive tract, a police spokesman said.

Store employees reportedly said Kennedy had swallowed the necklace.

“When they X-rayed him, it showed it to be in his stomach,” store employee Josh Stefanoff reportedly said.

He said the necklace was sterilized, boiled, and cleaned with alcohol and jewelry cleaner, reportedly said. Mendelson said he would hand-deliver the necklace to the winning bidder if the buyer lives in the continental United States.

One loose diamond was recovered but police were still awaiting recovery of the second one, Stefanoff reportedly said.