A 24-year-old woman suspected of a string of robberies at jewelry stores across the South has been arrested in Atlanta. She’s facing up to 20 years behind bars, so now is certainly not the time to feel a little inspired, maybe, or to consider that capitalism is the real thief, in a way?
Abigail Lee Kemp was arraigned Monday in Atlanta, accused of robbing six jewelry stores in five states to the tune of $4 million. The FBI also said that a second person, a 35-year-old man named Lewis Jones III, had been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the thefts. Jones has not yet been arraigned. He is in custody in Dekalb County, Georgia, where local authorities wanted to speak with him regarding two unsolved bank robberies from last summer.
Before Kemp was arrested Friday she had a pretty good run, allegedly; she’s accused of stealing diamonds and watches in armed, “takeover-style” robberies in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. The FBI says they believe Kemp typically held jewelry store employees at gunpoint and either zip-tied their hands or herded them into a back room before ransacking the store and making her escape. Kemp often wore workout clothes during the robberies; the New York Daily News dubbed her both the “Diamond Diva” and “the shapely stickup artist,” which, sure.
But, per NBC, Kemp might’ve had a slightly longer career, allegedly, had she been a little more careful about covering her face and not wearing her spoils out and about:
The jewel heists attracted wide attention because the bandit was a woman so bold she didn’t bother to wear a mask. And court documents released Monday show she didn’t do much to cover her tracks, either.
Kemp used her own phone and a relative’s car during the string of heists, and raised eyebrows by wearing fancy jewelry, according to an FBI affidavit.
The FBI used data from cell towers to identify Kemp, 24, as the bandit who waltzed unmasked into jewelry outlets in five states, whipped out a gun, herded workers into back rooms and emptied cases, an affidavit says.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked down a high school acquaintance of Kemp’s for a delightful short feature which reveals that prior to an al-le-llleeeegeeed career in jewel thievery, Kemp worked at breastaurants like Hooters and Twin Peaks and who “literally fell off the grid” for a while there, losing track of all her old buddies while out doing something or other that kept her away from social media a lot.
“For nearly a year,” the AJC wrote solemnly, “her Twitter account has done nothing but publish automated horoscopes.” The paper adds, presciently:
She is a Pisces. The reading posted Sunday begins like this: “You may be overwhelmed with an unrealistic desire to avoid your current responsibilities. Although you might dream of running away to an exotic locale, you could quickly become disappointed once you realize how impractical it would be to drop everything right now.”
Kemp looked unhappy while undertaking her perp walk into court Monday, and is said to have wept in front of the judge, which is all understandable and should be a reminder that jewel theft is probably a lot more trouble than it looks. I guess.
Surveillance footage stills of someone or other stealing some jewels, released by the FBI. Image via FBI/NBC