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Man claims to be soldier about to be deployed, steals $100K diamond from Bellevue store

Diamond ring (Koshy Koshy/Flickr)

A man walked into a Bellevue jewelry store dressed in military fatigues and boots and told an employee he wanted to buy a diamond engagement ring for his new fiancée before being deployed.

Shown a 5.54-carat, marquise-cut diamond worth $100,000, the man grabbed the stone, bolted out the door and made his getaway in an SUV, Bellevue police say.

Thanks to fingerprints left on the store’s glass door after the February theft, police last week arrested a suspect, identified in charging papers as Arquae Kennedy, 26, of Vancouver, Washington. Kennedy, who was charged Monday with second-degree robbery, never served in the armed forces, according to Bellevue police and King County prosecutors.

Kennedy is accused of walking into Diamonds Inc., a jewelry store on Main Street in Old Bellevue, just before 7 p.m. on Feb. 22. He asked to see diamonds between 3 and 5 carats and was shown two rings, charging papers say.

He then asked to see a bigger diamond, and the store’s owner showed him a loose stone in a small jar, according to the charges.

As the owner explained the diamond’s price, Kennedy suddenly grabbed the jar and ran out the front door, the charges say. The owner and his son chased Kennedy as he ran until reaching a private drive, where an SUV drove up to them, charging papers say.

The owner managed to grab hold of Kennedy’s jacket as Kennedy jumped into the SUV, the charges say. The owner was dragged by the vehicle a short distance until Kennedy hit him, causing him to let go, say the charges, which note the store owner suffered a bloody nose, a cut lip, and scraped knuckles and knees.

A woman who was driving by and who witnessed the pursuit was able to provide police with a license-plate number, which came back to a 2018 Mazda CX5 that had been rented by a man who did not match the description of the robbery suspect, say charging documents.

The vehicle was driven by a woman, according to the charging papers.

An employee told officers the store’s windows had been professionally cleaned that morning and that she had just cleaned the glass door and display case before the theft. When police reviewed the store’s video-surveillance footage, officers noticed the thief had pushed the glass open as he fled.

Latent fingerprints found on the glass were run through an FBI database and matched Kennedy’s fingerprints, say charging papers. The store employee and the owner’s son independently identified Kennedy from a police photo montage, the charges say.

Bellevue police obtained a temporary arrest warrant for Kennedy and arrested him in Vancouver on Friday.

Kennedy was booked into the Clark County Jail before being transported to the King County Jail on Monday, where he remains in lieu of $150,000 bail, jail and court records show.

Kennedy’s alleged accomplice has not been identified and police have not recovered the stolen diamond, according to Bellevue police.


© 2018 The Seattle Times

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