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Tuesday
Jan152013

Jewel Thief Busted After Posting Vacation Photos on Facebook

Greater Manchester Police(LONDON) -- A thief who stole over $100,000 worth of diamonds and pearls from a jeweler in Manchester, Britain, has been caught by police after he posted pictures of himself vacationing in Brazil and shopping on the streets of London.

Charles Rodriguez, 31, is a Colombian man who police believe is a member of the crime gang the Latin Kings.  In October 2011, along with another man, he allegedly beat a jeweler who had been returning from a sales trip.

The two stole the keys to his car and opened his trunk, then made off with two briefcases containing diamonds and pearls worth more than £80,000, according to Manchester City Police.

Investigators combed CCTV footage, which allegedly revealed that Rodriguez had followed the man prior to the attack.  Investigators also searched telecommunications and social media, which indicated he left the U.K. with a false passport for a vacation to Rio de Janeiro, then headed to Colombia, investigators said.

Police said his Facebook page was “littered with pictures” of his trip to Rio.

“Rodriguez’s arrogance was astonishing.  After committing an appalling attack on a jewellery trader, he fled the country to his native Colombia where he knew he could not be extradited,” Detective Sergeant Roger Smethurst said in a statement.  “However, his lack of remorse was evident by the fact he brazenly posted sightseeing pictures from Brazil -- at a time when he was on the run -- on his Facebook page.”

Though the Manchester police were aware of Rodriguez’s whereabouts, Colombia is a non-extradition country for the U.K.  Investigators had to bide their time, waiting for him to slip up.

In 2012, Rodriguez reentered the U.K. with a false passport.  He even posted photos of himself Christmas shopping and sightseeing around London.  Rodriguez was stopped by London police for driving suspiciously.  Though he faked his name, fingerprinting revealed his identity.

“Rodriguez must have thought he was above the law and untouchable because even when he finally returned to the U.K., knowing he was still wanted, he still posted pictures of himself Christmas shopping in London on his Facebook page,” Smethurst said.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to robbery at a hearing this week.  He has been ordered to serve five years and four months in jail.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio