A combination of leads from some unlikely sources, like social media and a crime analyst from the United Kingdom, have led to the arrest of a suspected jewel thief.
According to law enforcement, on February 28 Collier Deputies responded to a call about a distraction theft at Neil’s Jewelry and Exchange on Trail Boulevard in North Naples. Victims reported that a man had entered the store to purchase several items and asked the employees to bag some of the items he was going to purchase.
While the employees were distracted, the suspect allegedly removed jewelry from the bag. He then told employees that he did not have enough cash on him and needed to stop by the bank. The man never returned and managed to leave with $13,000 worth of jewelry.
A month after the robbery, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office release footage of the incident captured on the store’s security cameras on Facebook. The post, which was shared 85 times, reached 24,000 people including some users abroad. A crime analyst from the UK who had seen the footage reached out to the CCSO in April to help identify the suspect.
The analyst told deputies that the man’s name was Nikolae Anghel and that he was part of an organized crime group that is known for committing similar crimes in Romania and the UK. The analyst had recently been tracking the group’s movement to the United States.
Using this information, deputies were able to discover a Facebook page Anghel had been operating under an alias. In a post from February, Anghel had shared a video in which he could be seen wearing the same shirt that was worn by the suspect in the Naples robbery. On June 29, detectives obtained a warrant for Anghel on charges of grand theft. The suspect was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Bernardino, California and has been approved for extradition to Collier County.
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