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MAN GETS 18 MONTHS IN DIAMOND NECKLACE THEFT

Steven Lyles and his co-defendants sold the jewelry for $15,000 and a car, prosecutors say.

A judge Thursday sentenced the last of three men who stole a $263,000 diamond necklace from a Sam's Club retail store in Carrollwood.

Steven Lee Lyles, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony grand theft. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta sentenced the Tampa man as a youthful offender to 18 months in prison and three years of probation.

Authorities said Lyles distracted a saleswoman while two other men smashed a jewelry case with a hammer and stole the necklace.

Last month, his co-defendants also pleaded guilty to grand theft. Douglas Guzman, 24, of Miami, and Derrick Denson, 21, of Tampa, were sentenced to five years in prison. The three men must reimburse the store for the necklace, according to a plea agreement reached with the Florida attorney general's statewide prosecution office.

The getaway drivers, Cindy Magnolia Hunt, 26, of Temple Terrace, and Crystal Jones, 20, of Hialeah, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand theft. The women received five-year probation terms and must contribute $52,600 to the restitution.

The five defendants sold the necklace in Miami for $15,000 and an automobile, prosecutors said. Attorney general spokeswoman Sandi Copes said the necklace has not been found.

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