By Rob Bates
In a blog post, the FBI provided a rare inside look at its decade-long investigation of an Alabama jeweler—following a robbery local police believed was an inside job.
In December 2004, Joseph Harold Gandy told police there had been a robbery in his store, Denman-Crosby Jewelry Store in Mountain Brook Village, Ala. According to Gandy, two men entered just before closing time, pulled out guns, and forced Gandy to empty the contents of the display cases into a bag. Both he and the employee were tied up while the perpetrators fled.
The post says that from the beginning, police in Mountain Brook Village, Ala., suspected the theft was an inside job, for the following reasons:
- The store was located on a busy street, and there were no other witnesses to the crime.
- The robbers took the store’s security camera.
- Shortly before the robbery, the owner increased his insurance coverage.
- The jeweler had added some of the stolen items just recently, mostly on consignment from New York City dealers.
- The jeweler reported $2.6 million stolen to insurance. His policy limit was $2.8 million.
The FBI’s post makes no conclusions on that issue.
Investigators took their suspicions to the FBI, but the agency hadn’t been able to prove anything until 2013, when it received a tip that Gandy had begun to pawning some of the allegedly stolen diamonds.
In July of that year, Gandy allegedly sent a friend to jewelry stores in Jefferson County, Ala., to pawn diamonds he had reported stolen in 2004. That fizzled when a jeweler requested documentation for the 1.59 ct. stone.
Later, he sent a friend to a Birmingham jewelry store to pawn a 3.01 ct. emerald-cut diamond—which was reported stolen—said to be worth about $43,000. Gandy wanted $15,000 for it. The store eventually bought it in exchange for a $12,000 loan.
Between August and November 2013 Gandy’s friend pawned two more diamonds: a 3.45 ct. cushion-cut diamond for $8,000 and a 2.16 ct. round diamond for $2,000. Both stones were reported stolen to the insurance company.
In November, FBI agents raided Gandy’s home and found a cache of 99 weapons. Gandy had been prohibited from possessing firearms due to prior conviction for mail fraud.
Gandy pled guilty to money laundering in October of last year. He was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.
“We were never able to determine why Gandy waited so long to pawn the jewelry he had bogusly reported as stolen, but we do know that he told an acquaintance he wanted to open an additional jewelry store,” said the FBI’s blog post. “A warning to criminals: No matter how long it takes or how careful you are, law enforcement will eventually come knocking.”