Sunday, May 20, 2012
Stone recovered from “diamond switcher”
The “diamond swticher” saga entered a new phase Saturday after an alleged jewel thief passed a $20,000 diamond Windsor police have anxiously awaited for more than a week.
Police have been waiting for Richard MacKenzie Matthews, 52, to pass the stone since he swallowed a 1.7-carat diamond Thursday, May 10, at Precision Jewellers on Howard Avenue after allegedly trying to switch the diamond with a cubic zirconia.
Staff Sgt. Dave Kigar said Matthews passed the stone during a bowel movement Saturday afternoon.
“At Mr. Matthew’s request he has since been transferred to the County Jail where he is resting a little more comfortably than he was in our dry cell,” Kigar said about the suspect being held in a cell without a sink or toilet for the past nine days.
“We’ve got the diamond and an additional charge will be laid against him of possession of stolen property.”
The alleged “diamond switcher,” a well-known thief wanted in other jurisdictions, was arrested last Thursday.
After he allegedly tried to switch the gem with a fake, store employees confronted him, locked him in and called police.
Liz Dick, the store employee who caught Matthews, said she had shown him diamonds before on different occasions.
He was supposedly shopping for an engagement ring, he told her. She now believes he had been casing the place.
“I feel pretty good we took him off the streets,” she said Sunday. “He’s done it before so he may have left our store and may have tried to pull the wool over someone else’s eyes and got away with it.”
When Dick handed him the diamond last Thursday, the employee of 10 years said she knew “right away” the one he handed back was a fake.
After she confronted him, she said he seemed to flip something in the garbage can. He also went to the water cooler and took a drink.
Matthews then swallowed the diamond along with two cubic zirconias. Dick said she checked the garbage as police searched Matthews.
She found a piece of paper with three other fake diamonds, each a different size.
Not only did Dick say the retrieved diamond should be “perfectly fine” and would most likely maintain its value, she believes people will seek out the diamond because of the story behind it.
“I think it proves for an interesting stone.”
She said she is unsure what will happen to the diamond and has not seen it since it was stolen.
One of the fake gems swallowed by Matthews was recovered Friday. The second zirconia has still not been found, Kigar said.
The stolen diamond was returned to the owners at the store, Kigar said.
Matthews is charged with theft over $5,000 and breach of court conditions. A charge of possession of stolen property is pending.