MESA, Ariz. - Mesa police are asking for the public's help in identifying and catching the man involved in a brazen diamond heist. The thief's face, even his tattoos, are all clearly seen in surveillance video - and helping find the suspect could pay off for someone.
Police aren't searching for a diamond in the rough, but rather a crooked thief in this case. The man was caught on surveillance camera running with two large, princess-cut diamonds worth about $36,000. The jewelry store owner says the thief visited the store twice. The first time, he brought a little boy with him.
"He identified him as his son, 4-years-old I think," said Daniel O'Donnell, owner of Arizona Diamond Center. "It's sad, he's 4-years-old, just along for the ride."
The suspect returned another day, alone. Again, he asked to look at jewelry worth more than $10,000. He allegedly acted as if he was going to inspect the loose diamond with a magnifying glass. He grabs the gem, along with the pad holding an engagement ring, and runs off.
"We've been in business for 37 years," said O'Donnell. "This is not the first time we've had a grab and run."
But O'Donnell says he's surprised this thief was brazen enough to pull this one off knowing he was under surveillance and allowing cameras to capture his face so clearly. The larger diamond is marked, but not all pawn shops check.
"One [diamond] in particular has a laser inscription, so if the jeweler sees the inscription and reports it, we'll know exactly which one it is," O'Donnell said.
O'Donnell said the thief stole a 2-carat princess-cut loose diamond and a 1-and-a-half carat princess-cut diamond engagement ring.
"We are offering a reward of $1,000 for information that leads to the recovery of the merchandise or the arrest and prosecution of this guy," O'Donnell said.
Police say the suspect got into a black SUV, possibly a Chevy, and a getaway driver was waiting. The SUV had an Arizona, ASU license plate.
Anyone who might know the suspect or have any information in this case is asked to call the Mesa Police Department at (480) 644-2211.