March 26, 2005 in Nation/World

Diamond thieves pose as couriers

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

New York Two gunmen posing as messengers slipped into a Diamond District wholesale business Friday afternoon and walked out with an estimated $5 million in jewels, police said.

The bandits, dressed in black, their faces covered by ski masks, appeared to have carefully planned the robbery, taking advantage of the reduced security in place for Good Friday.

They slipped into the building, “The World’s Largest Jewelry Exchange,” boarded an elevator and donned ski masks on the ride up to the seventh floor.

When they exited they hit the buzzer for Diamart, a wholesale diamond dealer. “Who is it?” Navneet Goenka, 28, the son of the owner and the only employee there at the time, is said to have asked.

“Fed Ex,” one of the suspects replied, assuming Goenka would buzz them in.

Goenka did just that, police said, and one of the men grabbed Goenka by the hair and forced him to sit down while the other man rifled through a safe, taking about $5 million in diamonds from the safe and a nearby table.

Low-speed chase ends at drive-through window

Mount Carmel, Tenn. A yearning for breakfast helped end a police chase.

Jeffery Lynn Drinnon, 30, was arrested at the drive-through lane of a Hardee’s restaurant about 5 a.m. Tuesday after leading police on a low-speed chase.

“He turned into Hardee’s, pulls up to the drive-through and rolls the window down like he’s going to order a biscuit before he goes to jail,” Mount Carmel Assistant Police Chief Mike Campbell said. “They had the car surrounded with guns drawn at the drive-through at Hardee’s, and he’s wanting breakfast.”

Police began chasing Drinnon after a market reported he drove away without paying for $7 of gasoline. Officers said they used blue lights and sirens to try to get Drinnon to pull over, but he kept going until he saw the restaurant.

Drinnon was charged with driving under the influence, driving on a revoked license, evading arrest, resisting arrest and theft under $500.

He was taken into custody before he could place his order.

Bill-changing machine gave big payouts

Council Bluffs, Iowa Customers who used the bill changing machine at Bluffs Run Casino found they had bigger payoffs than any gambling device in the place.

That’s because the machine was spitting out hundreds instead of twenties.

“It went on for about six hours,” said the casino’s finance director, Janae Sternberg. When the machine was shut down, it turned up $46,640 short.

State records say casino employee Judith Roederer-Dillard – who has since been fired – mistakenly placed the $100 bills in the machine about 5 a.m. Dec. 18.

“You know, some of the guests had figured out that there was a malfunction and they went back – over and over and over,” Sternberg testified at Roederer-Dillard’s unemployment-benefits hearing.

Casino spokeswoman Christie Scott said Thursday that the casino reviewed surveillance tapes to try to recover some of the money but had little luck.

Administrative law judge Teresa K. Hillary awarded Roederer-Dillard full unemployment benefits, saying there was no evidence of deliberate misconduct.

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