Moore police on hunt for jewelry heist suspects

Tim Farley / The Transcript

Police are searching for two suspects in connection with the Jan. 23 jewelry heist at Diamond Dee Lite, 308 SE Fourth St., Moore. The thieves escaped with more than $700,000 in jewelry.

Two thieves escaped with more than $700,000 in jewelry from a Moore store in January, making it the largest heist ever recorded in the city, a police official confirmed.

Police have obtained an arrest warrant for Gustavo Rodriguez, of Plano, Texas, in connection with the robbery of Diamond Dee Lite, 308 SE Fourth St. Rodriguez and an unnamed accomplice, who escaped with the loot in a dark grey Dodge Charger on Jan. 23, are wanted for the alleged robbery and kidnapping, Moore police Sergeant Jeremy Lewis said.

Investigators used search warrants to obtain information from specific cell phone numbers and to place a global tracking device on the Dodge Charger, which was seen at the jewelry store the day before the heist in an attempt to surveil the area, police wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed Feb. 4.

"Obviously they had a plan, but I don't know where you would get rid of that much jewelry," Lewis said. "We've never had anything like this happen here."

The robber walked into Diamond Dee Lite prior to closing, pointed a handgun at the three employees inside the store and ordered them to lay on the floor. A female employee was ordered to take zip ties from the robber's duffel bag and place them on the hands of the two male employees, the affidavit shows.

The suspect then placed more than $700,000 in jewelry, including diamonds, in the duffel bag. The suspect also took the employees' cell phones to negate their attempts to seek help. The robber, who was wearing a hoodie, gloves and a full-face shell mask, ran west from the business and jumped into a Dodge Charger an accomplice was driving, police reported in the affidavit.

Lewis described Diamond Dee Lite as a "small store" in comparison with other jewelry retailers in the area that carry a larger stock of diamonds and other fine jewelry. Diamond Dee Lite, which closed temporarily after the robbery, was open for business Friday. Longtime store manager Mike O'Dell declined to be interviewed for this story.

Moore police Detective Jeremy Ballard wrote in the affidavit that the Dodge Charger was seen circling near the business on three occasions. In one instance, one of the suspects entered the jewelry store and "acted in a suspicious manner" before leaving without making a purchase.

Rodriguez rented the Dodge Charger from Enterprise Rental Cars, the affidavit shows. An employee of a business close to the jewelry store reported seeing a grey Dodge Charger with a Texas license plate that was checked by police.

A search of license plate records showed two cell phone numbers connected to Rodriguez. Both cell numbers were included in the search warrant affidavit which requested AT&T ping the numbers to provide real-time site location information.

Police found the vehicle unoccupied Jan. 27 in the Twin Creek Village Apartment complex in Norman. Investigators recovered a pair of earphones, a screwdriver and took swabs of the car's interior. All of the items were submitted to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for analysis.

The cell pings showed the phones were in the immediate area of Diamonds Dee Lite when the robbery occurred and the day before the robbery when the jewelry store was under surveillance by the alleged thieves, a search warrant affidavit shows. The cell pings also placed the phones in Plano, Texas, and the Moore and Norman areas on Jan. 22. On Jan. 24, the pings showed the phone moved south to the area of Plano, Texas, according to the affidavit.

Anyone with information about Rodriguez or the robbery should contact the Moore Police Department at 793-5151 or Crime Stoppers of Moore and Cleveland County at 793-5160.

Tim Farley366-3539tfarley@normantranscript.com

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