Diamond necklace stolen from a Tampa Sam's Club


Published: Friday, January 26, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 11:47 p.m.
TAMPA - Two men who committed a smash-and-grab robbery at a Sam's Club store got away with a seriously big-ticket item - a diamond-encrusted necklace with a price tag of $263,574.
The men were caught on security cameras as they carried out the heist at the member's-only bulk warehouse store while it was open Tuesday night, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
One of the men walked in with a hammer in his belt and both changed clothes in the restroom before smashing the jewelry case and fleeing with the necklace, which is festooned with 82 carats of pear-shaped diamonds, officials said.
A day after the bold heist, surveillance camera photographs of two suspects were on the TV news, along with detailed descriptions.
The necklace is believed to be the only piece stolen, even though the display case was smashed.
The piece was displayed with its price shown prominently on a card just above it.
Along with industrial-sized jars of mayonnaise and peanut butter, Sam's Club, owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., sells fairly expensive items including jewelry, flat-screen TVs and furniture.
''If somebody is not familiar with Sam's Club, they will be pleasantly surprised,'' said company spokeswoman Susan Koehler, who declined to comment on the robbery. ''That's the fun of it. When you go in, you never know what you're going to find.''

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