Jewelry Thief Extradited to U.S. From Colombia
A Colombian national has been arrested in Colombia and sent to the United States to serve his sentence for robbery. Oscar Javier Rodriguez Roa of Bogota pled guilty to his involvement in a South American theft ring targeting traveling jewelry salesmen in the U.S. and around the world.
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) release, in May 2013 Roa and three accomplices approached a New York City jewelry salesman as he was exiting his car at a jewelry store in Wexford, Pennsylvania. Roa smashed the rear window of the salesman’s car with a gardening took and proceeded to steal a black shoulder bag containing approximately $500,000 worth of gemstones and jewelry.
The other accomplices punctured the salesman’s car tire, acted as lookout, and drove a getaway vehicle while Roa sole the items. Witnesses followed the getaway car to a church parking lot. The license plate of the vehicle was obscured using a vanity plate.
Once the thieves realized they had been followed, Roa and his accomplices abandoned the vehicle and fled by foot to a CVS Pharmacy.
Law enforcement obtained the CVS Pharmacy surveillance footage which showed Roa and one accomplice entering the store while the other two waited outside. Roa spoke on the phone while his accomplice carried the jewelry bag.
Fingerprint analysis confirmed Roa was in the vehicle.
Records from Customs and Border Protection found that Roa fled to Bogota, Colombia after boarding a flight in Texas two weeks after the crime was committed.
Roa was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison for violating the Hobbs Act. He is subject to deportation following his release.
The investigation of this case was led by the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Division, with the assistance of the Northern Regional Police Department. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support in securing the defendant’s extradition.
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