This story originally appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of the Community Voice. For the latest local and news, call 270-384-94564 for your online or print subscription.
Arrests were made Monday night after a burglary over a week ago at Diamonds on the Square in Columbia. Kyle W. Jones and Marly D. Arms, both of Columbia, were taken into custody Monday evening when officers spotted the pair at their residence on Hill Street, just off Tutt Street.
“I am so relieved,” said Ben Watts, who owns the jewelry store with his wife, Bridget. “Justice was served and it makes me feel good to know the public will know what really happened.”
City Police Officer Kevin Atwood said the burglar y happened sometime Saturday, Sept. 18 through Sunday, Sept. 19.
“Whenever you have something like this happen, you do have persons of interest,” Atwood said. “We followed up on those leads. Whenever you have a case at the beginning, it seems like you have a haystack the size of the world to find the needle in. That’s kind of what we’re doing.”
The use of social media helped solve the case. Ben Watts shared information about the theft on a private group page for jewelers.
“It paid off in Nashville. Some of the stolen goods were able to be specifically identified,” Atwood said.
Currently Jones is being charged with two counts of receiving stolen property, $10,000 or more, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Arms is being charged with receiving stolen property, $10,000 or more. Additional charges are possible. Both are lodged in the Adair County Regional Jail.
Watts said Jones is a former employee at the store.
Sgt. Evan Burton initiated the contact with the subjects Monday with several officers on standby. He said they believed there was a possibility there would be a firearm involved. He was able to get them out of the house and the two were taken into custody without incident.
“This took a lot of teamwork , from a lot of different people, and within this agency,” Burton said. “But we’ve still got a lot more work to do.”
A weapon was seized on the property, as well as two vehicles with money and stolen property in each vehicle, Atwood said. Other items were recovered at Green Hills Jewelry and Loan Store in Nashville. Burton said approximately three-quarters of the stolen property has been recovered, and there are also reports some of the stolen property may be in Alabama.
Watts estimated the total value of the items stolen to be between $250,000 and $300,000.
Atwood said apparently Jones climbed up a pole on the outside of the building and broke out a window on the second floor. He made his way downstairs and cleaned out the cases. Watts believes Jones crawled on the floor around the showroom cases to avoid the motion detectors. Atwood said he has no idea why the alarms did not go off.
Burton said there’s really not much Watts could have done different in the case. He said this is why it is so important for the community to realize they need to work together with law enforcement.
“We’re eager to get open,” Watts said. “We don’t know how long it will take. Officers Kevin Atwood and Evan Burton did an awesome job on this case. I can’t stress how appreciative I am.”
A gofundme account (the Watts family) was organized for Watts and his family to help offset his losses before the stolen items were recovered. Watts said his insurance coverage would not cover the majority of his loss.
By Scott Wilson