Tipster Abroad Identifies Local Jewelry Theft Suspect
A suspected jewelry thief is behind bars after a Collier County Sheriff's Office social media post circulated abroad.
On Feb. 28, CCSO responded to calls of a distraction theft at Neil’s Jewellery and Exchange on Trail Boulevard in North Naples. According to the victims, a man entered the store, asking to purchase several items.
The man asked the employees to bag some of the items for him for purchase. While the employees were distracted, the man removed the jewelry from the bag. He told the employees he was short cash and needed to stop by the bank for more.
Instead of coming back with money, the man left with $13,000 worth of jewelry in his pocket.
A month later, CCSO detectives released video from the crime captured on the jewelry store’s surveillance cameras along with details of the crime on the agency’s Facebook page. The post was shared 85 times, and reached more than 24,000 people – apparently around the globe. Local news outlets shared the story and the man’s surveillance photos.
In April, a tip from the United Kingdom helped deputies to identify the suspect.
According to the tipster, the man was Nikolae Anghel. Deputies learned Anghel was part of an organized crime group known for committing distraction thefts in Romania and the United Kingdom.
Deputies located Anghel’s Facebook page under an alias he was using online. The day before the February crime in Naples, Anghel posted a video of himself wearing the same purple shirt he was seen wearing in surveillance footage at Neil’s Jewellery and Exchange. Witnesses were later able to identify Anghel in a photo lineup.
On June 29, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect to include nationwide extradition on charges of grand theft. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials took Anghel into custody July 27 in San Bernardino, California.
On Oct. 11, ICE acknowledged the warrant and agreed to extradite Anghel to Collier County.