On March 8, Jackson Police Detective James Cornelius took on the case of the missing diamonds. A woman had reported more than $50,000 in jewelry missing from her north Jackson home.
Seventeen high-dollar items were stolen, including a Cartier drop necklace, sapphire and diamond bracelet, Rolex watch and Tiffany double pearl earings with diamonds.
In talking with the jewelry owner, Cornelius discovered she’d let a friend host a birthday party at the residence the day before, and about 98 people attended. That was the first clue.
“We figured someone at the party went into the lady’s personal bathroom and took some of her jewelry out of the jewelry box,” Cornelius said.
The party was full of doctors, business professionals and social elite. Finding the thief out of the bunch was not going to be easy, he said.
“They supplied a list of everyone who came to the party. I began interviewing people who (were) there, then I went to the pawn shops to see if anyone on the list had pawned anything lately,” he said.
Cornelius, who works in JPD’s pawn shop unit, knows the ins and outs of the pawning business. He searched pawn shop after pawn shop looking but came up empty.
What he did find was his next and biggest clue. Of all the people on the list, only one, a woman, had ever pawned something. He discovered that fact through the LeadsOnline pawn broker database.
“I called the (person) to try and interview her but she declined, so I had the crime lab review the fingerprints taken from the scene,” he said.
When the results returned, Cornelius went to the guest’s house, told her her rights and explained her fingerprints were found on the jewelry box.
“She began looking down, then she started telling me what she did,” Cornelius said.
And as NMC notes on his website, who is the jewel thief, and why didn’t the CL name her?