Unlike our past look at diamond thefts, the heists here weren’t all failures. But some of them do make you wonder about the people who committed them:
1. The thief who kept texting his victim
This August, a Newburyport, Mass., man tried to sell his 1.5 ct. ring on Craig’s List. He met a prospective buyer in a parking lot, and while examining it, the man drove off without paying for it. So far, not so weird. The strange part occurred afterward—when the suspect sent the man a series of texts. One said he felt bad about the theft, but explained he had cancer. Another asked him not to tell his fiancée about what happened. A third advised the victim to “be more careful” in the future, adding that he brought a gun to the meeting. The final message said the suspect was having a panic attack, and asked the victim to come get him (though it doesn’t say where he was). Police eventually apprehended the man by tracking his cellphone.
2. The couple with thousands of diamonds in their body parts
In 2011, Indian police noticed a Congolese man and woman walking through a local airport in what they called a “suspicious way.” After questioning them, the police discovered that the man had smuggled an impressive 1629.5 cts. of diamonds in his rectum—while the female carried an equally stunning 1795.5 cts. in her “private parts.” Further questioning revealed the couple had received $1,000 for participating in the scheme.
3. The man who robbed a jeweler while on trial for another crime
Whatever you want to say about a certain alleged Franklin, Tenn., jewelry store robber, he has good time management, if not good judgment. In 2011, while on a lunch break during his trial for a 2-year-old robbery, the man walked into a local retailer and ran off with a Rolex and some diamond bracelets. Police eventually tracked him to the courthouse—and had to hold up the trial for his old crime while he was questioned for the new one. In the end, the man was found guilty of the old robbery, and charged with felony theft for the second.
4. The thief who stole a diamond ring from a dead body
Proof that some criminals have no shame: This April, someone stole a diamond wedding ring from a dead body that was lying in state at a Sulphur Spring, Texas, funeral home. And while the ring wasn’t particularly valuable—only $579—the crime is considered a felony since it involves stealing from a corpse.
5. The scam that involved a small man hidden in a desk
You have to give the organizers of this scam some points for creativity. The ruse involved a fake sheik—really, a 40-year-old from Yugoslavia—who conned a Spanish jeweler into selling him $9 million worth of diamond items, including a tiara that once belonged to legendary Argentina first lady Eva Perón, at a local business center. The “sheik” paid for the items by putting a stack of genuine Euros in the business center desk. Once there, what news accounts call a “small man hidden in the desk” switched the stack of genuine Euros with a phony pile that had real Euros on the top and bottom. The plot went awry when the jeweler insisted on examining the money again, causing him to get “roughed up” by the con artist and assistant, who ran off with the pieces. All the plotters were eventually arrested, and the jewelry recovered.
The robbery of a diamond made of human remains
This theft—which happened earlier this month—is strange not for what happened but for what was stolen: a “memorial diamond” created from the ashes of an Australian man by Swiss company Algordanza. The gem disappeared en route to a satellite office in Houston; UPS is currently investigating. Meanwhile, the company says it has additional ashes from the man and is fashioning a new stone.