Monday, October 10, 2005

Thief caught in New York's Diamond District

One of our most incredible cases involved a diamond thief in New York's Diamond District. A woman called Sherlock Investigations from Boston and told us that she had inheirited $20,000 worth of diamond jewelry from her mother.

This is her story: She came home one day and her diamonds were gone. So was Stanley, her live-in boyfriend. Asking around, she learned that Stanley ran off with a woman named Janice. She called the Boston Police Department and filed a complaint.

After three months, the Boston PD had not located Stanley. However, the jewelry began showing up in Boston-area pawn shops.

Then she called Sherlock Investigations and we began the hunt. Using every trick in the trade (and we have a lot of them), we, too, were unable to locate Stanley after three months.

Belatedly, we asked our client for a photo of Stanley. She sent us one that was 7 or 8 years old. Meanwhile, I had a surveillance job on New York's 47th Street, the Diamond District.

I took the Number 5 bus down to 5th Avenue and 50th Street. I got off and headed south to 47th Street. Between 47th and 48th Streets I saw a couple sitting on the sidewalk with their backs up against a building. Next to them was a pile of luggage, and in front of them a sign that read "Homeless." An empty paper coffee cup was on the sidewalk by the little sign.

It struck me that the guy resembled the photo I had memorized of Stanley. "No," I thought, "I've been working too hard and it's getting to me." Still, the guy did resemble Stanley.

So, after walking by, I turned around and dropped a dollar in the cup. Both of them thanked me. I asked him his name. He said, "Stanley." She said, "I'm Janice."

I mumbled "Good luck," or something as the adrenaline began to hit. I walked around the corner and called 911. While waiting for the cops I called the client and told her that I found Stanley. She was, of course, ecstatic.

When the cops arrived, I explained that I was a private investigator and told them about the case. They went over and had the man identify himself. Indeed, he turned out to be the Stanley that I was looking for.

The police slapped cuffs on him and we all drove down to Midtown North together. After they locked Stanley up, they called the Boston PD and told them that they'd hold Stanley for 24 hours, but that they had to come down to get him.

The Boston PD said that it wasn't worth it to them, as Stanley hadn't murdered, maimed, or raped anyone.

So, the NYPD let Stanley go, and he and I walked out of the police station together.
I did my job, but Stanley sort of slipped between the cracks.

The next day, Stanley was seen sitting on the same sidewalk with Janice, and the little cup. I guess he didn't invest the diamonds wisely. Probably bought crack or something with the proceeds.

Skipp Porteous

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