June 4, 2015
By Julie Montanaro
Three men accused of a jewelry heist at the Tallahassee Mall are now headed to prison.
It happened in May 2014 and sounds like something out of a movie.
Court records show thieves cut a hole in the roof, lowered themselves down into Lord and Barron Fine Jewelers and helped themselves to more than $100,000 dollars worth of watches and rings.
Five people were arrested.
Three of them entered no contest pleas this week to burglary and an organized scheme to defraud.
Court records show Javier De La Nova Lopez, Raphael Montalvo and Dairon Medina-Zumeta were each sentenced to two years in prison and three more on probation. They were also ordered to pay more than $150,000 in restitution.
By Julie Montanaro
July 15, 2014
He was "the one who got away." Until Now.
Tallahassee Police say Javier de la Nova Lopez was one of five people who tunneled through the roof of a jewelry store in May and helped themselves to designer watches and diamond rings.
The other four were caught on the scene at Lord and Baron Jewelers at the Tallahassee Mall, but arrest papers say Lopez got away.
Officers arrested him this week. Arrest papers say they identified him on surveillance video and one of the other co-defendants confirmed it. Arrest papers say officers believe Lopez still has 60-thousand dollars worth of the stolen jewelry somewhere.
By Julie Montanaro
May 22, 2014
Jewel thieves strike in Tallahassee and you won't believe how they broke in.
The arrest report reads like a movie script. The culprits are accused of tunneling through the roof of the Tallahassee Mall in the middle of the night and rappelling into a family owned jewelry store.
No broken glass here. Arrest reports say at about 3 a.m. Wednesday a group of jewel thieves cut through the roof above Lords & Barons Fine Jewelers, lowered themselves down with a rope and helped themselves to between 150 and 200 thousand dollars worth of watches and rings.
"Mostly watches," the owner said, "high end Swiss brands like Gucci and Tissot and then a lot of bridal jewelry, engagement rings, diamond rings."
The owner of the store agreed to talk with us but for his safety did not want us to show his face or use his name.
He's heard of heists like this on t.v. but never imagined it would happen in his family owned store.
"You work very hard and then towards the end of the day something like this happens," he said. "I''m very glad that they got caught."
Tallahassee Police have arrested four people in the heist, two men and two women. They may still be searching for a fifth suspect.
TPD and LCSO got a heads up from the FBI, arrest papers say, that this group may be responsible for roof top break ins from Florida to Colorado.
"I'm just appalled as to how they would have so much boldness to come in and try to take from other owners," shopper Charlie Taylor said.
"I can't imagine why they would have to go through all these lengths," shopper Jessica Schrawyer said. "It's crazy."
Arrest papers say officers saw the suspects' silver Mercedes near I-10 and Sharer Road and found a back pack hidden in the bushes there. It had more than 100 watches inside.
The suspects under arrest are Yuneisy Aguirre, Marley Torres-Denis, Dairon Medina-Zumeta and Rafael Montalvo. Court records show they are charged with burglary, grand theft and fraud.
Arrest papers say the five scouted out jewelry stores and pawn shops on Tuesday. The women, arrest papers say, went inside and pretended to be customers while the men waited outside.
One of the stores they visited, arrest papers say, was the Gem Collection on Thomasville Road.
Gem Collection Vice President Dorothy Vodicka says she remembers the women coming into the store, but says there was a sheriff's deputy on duty so the women didn't stay long.