Million-dollar jewel theft suspect arrested

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 18:52:40-04

NAPLES, Fla.- A Naples man is behind bars after getting arrested in connection with a major jewelry theft. Police say that Jeffrey Vickers, 35, of Naples, stole over a million dollars in jewels from Littman jewelry at the Coastland Center Mall.

Vickers was an employee at the store and knew its security codes. Though he was not scheduled to work Sunday, police say that he showed up after closing time.

"After management left, he entered the store, entered the code, then entered the code to the safe," said Lt. Seth Finman of the Naples Police Department.

When employees got to work the next morning and discovered more than a million dollars worth of jewels missing, they immediately looked at surveillance video and identified Vickers, who Finman said stuffed a backpack and garbage bag with watches, loose diamonds and other jewels.

"There's hundreds of pieces of jewelry," Finman said. "We have five detectives, and they're all working very hard to process each piece."

Vickers was arrested near his home on Delasol Lane. Nearby, detectives found his Volkswagen filled with stolen jewels. They also recovered the bag, backpack and clothes Vickers allegedly wore during the crime in a trash can at a Speedway gas station across the street from Coastland Center.

"He told detectives he unfortunately has a drug habit, and he was going to use the jewelry to fund his drug habit," Finman said.

Vickers is also charged with stealing a woman's purse from the Publix at the Naples Walk shopping center on Vanderbilt Beach Road. Police said that he sold gift cards from the purse to the First Pawn shop on Airport-Pulling Road.

Vickers' arrest report states that he is a convicted felon from Texas. Tuesday, a judge set his bond on grand theft and burglary charges at $95,000.