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Man steals two diamond rings from International Plaza jewelry store

A man stole two diamond rings from a jewelry store in International Plaza on Monday. Police are still looking for him.

Special to the Times

A man stole two diamond rings from a jewelry store in International Plaza on Monday. Police are still looking for him.

TAMPA — Dressed in a gray suit, a man walked into an International Plaza jewelry store and asked to see a diamond ring.

King Jewelers clerk Susai King said when she pulled the ring out of its case and handed it to him, he drew a gun from the waistband of his suit.

A petite woman, King said she pushed the tall, heavy man back, but he reached inside the case and grabbed another diamond.

A preliminary police report on the incident, which happened just before noon Monday, differs slightly. It says the man asked to see two rings, and that she refused to hand them to him.

But they do agree that the man pulled a gun, the two struggled, and he fled with two valuables — a 2.14-carat diamond ring and a 9.5-carat diamond ring.

Store co-owner Gabriel King said they are worth about $150,000. Police say the smaller ring is worth $3,500; they did not put a value on the larger ring.

During the altercation, Susai King said she screamed— a ruckus that drew three others from the back room.

Gabriel King said he was frightened when he saw the man's gun, but that didn't stop him from chasing the thief out of the mall, where the man got into a waiting 2006 white Dodge Caravan.

"He just jumped in, and they took off," Gabriel King said.

He took down the tag number but didn't get a good look at the driver. The van was found down the road in a parking lot, and police said it had been reported stolen from Lakeland.

Susai King suffered minor injuries, scrapes and bruises from the struggle, police said.

Gabriel King said the larger ring has a pear-shaped diamond set among smaller diamonds. The smaller ring has a stone surrounded by smaller diamonds, he said.

King Jewelers is located near the first-floor entrance to Nordstrom department store.

Gabriel King said he has turned over a surveillance video to police, and he's hoping they can use fingerprints that may have been left on the jewelry case to find the thief.

Police describe the robber as white, about 6 feet 4 and 180 pounds, between 38 and 40 years old, with dyed blond hair. During the theft, he was wearing a light-gray suit and sunglasses.

The Tampa Police Department is asking for anyone with information to call police at (813) 231-6130.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Man steals two diamond rings from International Plaza jewelry store 07/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:02am]
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