Houston Police are looking for a diamond thief who they say targeted Houston jewelry stores with unusual tactics.
"This is only the second time in 25 years that this has happened," Houston Jewelry owner Rex Solomon said. "It takes a lot more skill and finesse and practice to try to attempt one of these types of criminal activities."
Police say in surveillance video a man named Jamal Brown, who didn't hide his identity or use a fake name, looked at jewelry with a saleswoman.
"He took the time to actually talk to a lot of people in the store. He wanted to be noticed and put people at ease," Solomon said. "That's how a con works. You let your guard down."
The man can be seen in the surveillance video distracting the saleswoman for a fraction of a second while he swaps a two-carat diamond worth $15,747 for a cubic zirconia that police say he was hiding in his left fist.
Houston police say Brown, who has been arrested on felony drug and other charges before, then sold the stolen diamond to another Houston jewelry shop for $5,500.00.
Solomon said he noticed the fake diamond immediately and called the police, who tracked down the stolen diamond using the GIA identification number inscribed into the edge of the rock.
Other Houston-area jewelers have told Solomon that Brown has been to their stores recently trying to sell other diamonds.
If you recognize the man or know anything about this case, you're asked to contact the Houston Police Department.