Thursday, July 21, 2011 | 12:23 a.m.
Federal prosecutors say they've cracked a multi-state diamond theft ring that made off with more than $1.4 million in gems from various jewelers.
Five people indicted in Portland are charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy. Two of the five _ Michael Young, 39, of Davenport, Fla., and Ernest Remor, 36, of Spring Hill, Fla., appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Janice Stewart and were ordered detained as flight risks pending trial set for Sept. 27. Both pleaded not guilty, The Oregonian reported, adding the two were arrested Tuesday at a home in Salem.
The FBI says a man, sometimes accompanied by a woman, would walk into a jewelry store and pretend to shop for a diamond ring. After asking to see large gems, the phony customer would grab them and race to a getaway car.
The indictment describes seven thefts between December 2010 and January 2011 from stores in Oregon, California, Tennessee and Nevada. It says the gems were transported to Pennsylvania for sale.
Three other defendants, Trey Adams, 27, of Charlotte, N.C., Victor Lupis, 25, of Monroe, N.C., and Jack Cannon, 25, of Madison, Ga., were charged in the indictment and will appear at a later date, according to U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton's office.
"This is not some Hollywood fantasy film filled with `A List' stars and fancy cars," said Alan J. Peters, acting FBI special agent in charge in Oregon. "This is a criminal case with real victims stretched across the U.S."
Citing a 39-page FBI affidavit, The Oregonian says the thefts actually began on July 17, 2010, with a robbery at Lou Wilson Fine Jewelers in Vero Beach, Fla., that made off with $100,000 of inventory. Nine days later, the affidavit alleges, came the robbery of King Jewelers in Tampa, Fla., where two diamond rings valued at $253,000 were taken.
The government accuses the team of waiting nearly five months before hitting jewelry stores on the West Coast.
In this state, stores in Portland, the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego and Grants Pass in southern Oregon were hit.
The indictment alleges two California jewelry stores, in San Mateo and Palo Alto, were hit on the same day, Jan. 13, 2011.