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August 29, 2014

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Charges filed against suspected member of nationwide jewelry-theft ring

A Maryland man accused of being part of an organized theft crew that targeted a national jewelry chain’s stores has been indicted in Clark County.

The indictment, handed up Tuesday, charges Rodney Anistead, 51, with felony counts of burglary and grand larceny and gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit larceny and conspiracy to commit burglary.

The charges are related to burglaries March 7, 2012, at the Zales jewelry stores at 7400 Las Vegas Blvd. South and 855 S. Grand Central, according to a Metro Police report.

According to the Metro report:

Anistead was in a group of four people who entered the Las Vegas Boulevard Zales store. Two of the four, posing as customers, distracted the clerk while another went to the store’s office, where master keys for display cases were kept.

The four left the Las Vegas Boulevard store and about 90 minutes later went to the Grand Central Zales store. Again, two from the group distracted a clerk while on the opposite side of the store more than $140,000 worth of diamonds and jewelry was emptied from a locked display case.

A day later, the four were captured on surveillance video at a Zales in San Bernardino, Calif., where a similar theft occurred.

A loss-prevention manager from Zales told Metro the jewelry chain had been tracking the four since 2008.

A break in the case occurred a week later when authorities in Montgomery County, Md., investigating the unauthorized use of a credit card at a JC Penney store, discovered merchandise purchased with the card being loaded into a Black Range Rover with a Maryland license plate registered to Anistead. After a search warrant was obtained, authorities found diamonds in the Range Rover and traced them to the Zales stores in Las Vegas and San Bernardino.

Tess Driver, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Steve Wolfson, said Anistead was brought from Maryland to face the charges after serving out a sentence for an unspecified crime. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 5 in Clark County District Court.

Driver said Clark County arrest warrants were issued in March 2012 for Anistead and suspected co-conspirators Ronald Bell, 47, hometown not listed, and Bruce Shelton, 54, Washington, D.C. Bell and Shelton remain at large.

The fourth suspected co-conspirator is an unidentified female.

Anistead is in the Clark County Detention Center without bond.

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