Monday, July 13, 2009

They're Here! South American Jewel Thieves in Tennessee

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 11:28 AM

click to enlarge blood_20diamonds.jpg
Seems like this stuff plays out the same way every time: Lone jewel courier travels alone, followed by a crew of South American jewel thieves in another car, maybe two. He parks, they surround him, and more often than not they make off with thousands of dollars' worth of diamonds and precious gems. Sometimes hundreds of thousands.

Usually it's a good day when someone doesn't get shot or stabbed in the process. Someone did, though, in Memphis. This time it was the bad guy--but I would argue that what happened in Memphis is different from the usual outcome. These jewelry couriers are literally hunted by teams of organized jewel thieves, often from Colombia, who strike swiftly and violently, unburdening them of their precious cargo in a matter of seconds.I wrote about these guys in a story set in Miami last year called Blood Diamonds. I'm sure gun rights advocates will trumpet this as justification for recent legislation--a victory even.

In that case, the courier was injured and bloodied, and an attacker died. The only victory that day is the fact that an innocent bystander didn't catch a stray bullet when the courier opened fire on the getaway vehicle.

Granted, Miami is the jewelry hub of this hemisphere, if not the world. But it's only a matter of time before scenes like this play out in Middle Tennessee with more regularity.

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