A suspected jewel thief was arrested last week in Smyrna, Georgia, after cell phone records, retail security systems, and tips from acquaintances aided the FBI in her identification. The 24-year-old woman, Abigail Lee Kemp, has been accused of involvement with a string of six jewelry store robberies across the Southeast since April 2015. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the most recent heist took place this month in Mebane, North Carolina, at a Jared Vault store. Court records indicate that nearly $2.2 million worth of jewels was taken in total.
NBC News also reported that a second suspect—35-year-old Lewis Jones III—was taken into custody by the FBI in connection with the incidents. No information has been released about his relationship to Kemp or role in the robberies.
Both suspects were visible on surveillance video at multiple store robberies. Images from the security cameras were released by officials via press release, which prompted citizens to reach out to the authorities with information identifying Kemp.
Kemp has been charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida. The release states that all six incidents shared common characteristics; in each store robbery, the alleged thief (or thieves) would use a gun to threaten employees into lying down on the floor, then zip-tying them before taking thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from the store and escaping.
The FBI office in Jacksonville, Florida, thanked the tipsters who provided leads during the investigation. “We thank our partners in the media who provided invaluable assistance by publicizing our need for information from the public,” said Michelle S. Klimt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “We also thank the many callers who provided us with information to assist in the investigation. You are one of the most valuable resources law enforcement has in fighting crime and we appreciate your efforts.”
Image Credit: FBI Jacksonville