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Guard arrested for retrieving diamonds from trash bin

A rather unusual situation developed earlier this month that culminated in criminal charges being filed against a Midtown Manhattan security guard.

The guard was arrested for first degree possession of stolen property after retrieving almost $5 million in diamonds from a trash can after workers at a Fifth Avenue jewelry store inadvertently tossed them out last month during store renovations, according to the chief of detectives with the New York City Police Department. Bail was set at $100,000.

Video surveillance tapes indicate that the 48-year-old security guard removed three boxes of gems from the trash and carried them and into the bathroom in November.

On Dec. 10, the store owner learned the diamonds were gone and made a report to an NYPD detective. His complaint indicates that the diamonds were stored in an unlocked safe while the store's contents were moved between floors.

When questioned about the tapes of him retrieving something from the trash, the guard allegedly told the detective he knew about the missing diamonds after being informed by a store employee that they were missing on Dec. 10, according to the District Attorney. However, the guard had already sold the bulk of the diamonds to another jeweler in the same Manhattan building. The sales were made on three different dates

By that time, he had sold the majority of the gems to a jeweler on the sixth floor of the same building on three separate dates over an eight-day span. According to the detective, the guard admitted that he was still in possession of two small and a single large diamond and that he had commissioned two other diamonds be incorporated into a ring.

He then allegedly gave the detective the big diamond valued at more than $3 million, both of the smaller gems and $10,000 in cash. At a press conference, the chief of detectives stated that the guard "sold them to another dealer in the area for $68,000."

This case brings up some interesting legal points, such as at what point does retrieving a discarded item from the trash constitute theft? A criminal defense attorney could argue that his client could not be guilty of the crime because the items he retrieved had already been tossed out.

Source: DNAinfo.com, "Security Guard Who Took $5M In Diamonds From Trash Arrested," Maya Rajamani and Trevor Kapp, Dec. 16, 2015

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