Local News

Jewel Thief Busted; $2.7 Million In Gems Recovered

Posted October 27, 2006 4:25 a.m. EDT

— A Johnston County man has been charged with a jewelry heist two weeks ago in which more than $2.7 million in gems and other goods were stolen, police said Friday.

Shaun Phillip Lowery, 29, of Smithfield, has been charged with burglary in connection with an Oct. 16 break-in at Selma Jewelry in Smithfield.

The thief removed a window pane to get inside the store, police said. The store owners are in the process of closing the store and renovating a larger site, so nearly everything from both stores was inside on the night of the robbery.

"When I came around the corner, there were just empty trays everywhere, and it just made me feel sick because I knew that was the bulk of our merchandise," owner Kim Boykin said.

Police said they were able to crack the case after an investigator found some of the stolen merchandise for sale on eBay.

"He actually found a large bit of gold that was placed on eBay just hours after the burglary was reported," said Detective J.E. Crayton of the Smithfield Police Department.

All of the jewelry that was taken has been recovered, police said.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or jump up and down. I was so excited," Boykin said.

Lowery also has been charged with a July break-in at the Tommy Hilfiger Outlet in Smithfield. Police have recovered about $3,500 in merchandise in that case.