According to the FBI, Abigail Lee Kemp is suspected of a crime spree including six jewelry thefts, spanning five Southeastern states and was arrested Friday in Georgia, along with another suspect who was accompanying her at the time.
In their statement, the FBI said Kemp was arrested in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, adding that a man who was accompanying her was also in custody. However, the FBI declined to name the other party or give more details of the arrest, citing the ongoing investigation.
— Blake McCoy (@BlakeNBC) January 10, 2016
The string of jewelry thefts reportedly occurred last year in Sevierville, Tennessee; Bluffton, South Carolina; Panama City Beach, Florida; and Dawsonville and Woodstock in Georgia. According to a Jackson, Florida FBI field office spokeswoman, Amanda Warford Videll, the latest in the crime spree occurred recently in Mebane, North Carolina.
The spree began April 29, 2015, at a Jared Jewelry store in Cherokee County and continued from there. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that at least one of Kemp’s jewelry heists brought in watches and diamonds worth around $4 million.
This initial jewelry store heist was followed by a similar incident at the Zales Jewelry in Dawsonville on August 5. Relating to the Woodstock robbery, initially the man was the prime suspect with the woman appearing to be a customer in the store. Investigators later suspected the man was actually the getaway driver.
According to the FBI, similar jewelry thefts followed in Panama City Beach, Florida on August 11; in Bluffton, South Carolina on September 2; and in Sevierville, Tennessee, on October 16.
As reported by Fox News, in the latest of the jewelry thefts at a Jared Vault Jewelry Store in Mebane, Kemp was allegedly armed with a handgun and forced the store’s employees to the back of the store, zip-tying their hands. Kemp then proceeded to use employees’ keys to open the display cases, grabbing the more expensive items and placing them into a shopping bag.
Kemp also stole another $40,000 worth of jewelry in Panama City and around $13,000 worth in Dawsonville. She was reportedly caught on camera in Bluffton, wearing a blue or purple striped skirt.
According to Videll, the arrests were made by FBI agents in Atlanta while assisting investigators in the Jacksonville, Florida division of the FBI. The FBI reportedly had received “numerous credible leads from the public” within hours of issuing a release asking for help in the case.
Before the arrest, the report by Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the female thief as being thin and occasionally dressed in workout-style clothes, while her partner was “older and pudgier” and was seen wearing a newsboy hat.
Abigail Lee Kemp, the accused serial jewlery theif, walks into federal court https://t.co/bEsHo5VuPJ pic.twitter.com/vXKpKsXG1y
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) January 11, 2016
The suspects were captured on various surveillance cameras as they proceeded on their crime spree and were seen to drive a different vehicle each time. In all cases, the stores targeted were typically in outlet malls with quick access to interstates.
Prior to their arrest for the jewelry store heists, the suspects were described as “armed and considered dangerous” by a spokesperson for the FBI.
As reported by the Business Standard, the FBI thanked members of law enforcement and the public in a news release for their assistance in hunting down the suspects of the jewelry thefts.
“We thank the many callers who provided us with information to assist in the investigation. You are one of the most valuable resources law enforcement has in fighting crime and we appreciate your efforts.”
The case will now reportedly be handled by the United States Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Florida.
As can be seen in the video below, while wearing gloves to prevent leaving incriminating fingerprints behind, Kemp never attempted to hide her face from the surveillance cameras while committing the jewelry thefts.
[Image via FBI]