U.S. Marine Fresh Out Of Boot Camp Nabbed For $500,000 Jewelry Heist

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David Yurman jewelry heist
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A U.S. Marine fresh out of boot camp was arrested for allegedly stealing more than a half a million dollars in a series of jewelry heists.

Teenage soldier nabbed for jewelry heist

Eighteen-year-old Marcelo Hernandez was taken into custody in Texas in mid-April after being linked to burglaries at multiple jewelry store smash-and-grabs in Harris County, Texas, where he reportedly made off with over $500,000.

The ‘serial jewelry store burglar’ recently joined the military and had returned home after completing boot camp, when he decided to break into David Yurman and Helzberg Diamonds stores at the Houston Premium Outlet Mall.

Hernandez was caught on camera using a sledgehammer to bust into the shops after hours and collect around half a million dollars worth of high-end jewelry.

While he wasn’t busted on the scene, investigators eventually caught up to the teenage burglar in his Mercedes-Benz GLA.

They found three handguns, $11,000 in cash and over $500,000 worth of jewelry in the SUV. Police realized he was a service member during his arrest.

“He was being taken into custody and his dog tags fell out. He did tell us he was in the U.S. military,” Harris County Constable Mark Herman revealed.

“Actually, he just recently finished his boot camp in the Marine Corps about a week before one of our cases.”

Jewelry heist perpetrator suspected in additional crimes

Herman suspects the 18-year-old, who lives with his parents in Cypress and drives a luxury vehicle on soldier’s pay, might be involved in other criminal activity.

The three guns that were recovered are being tested ballistically to see if their use was involved in other crimes.

“Just the police instinct in our investigators feel this guy is involved in more than just being a serial burglar at night with jewelry stores because some of the evidence we saw when we arrested him indicates he’s probably going to be involved in other crimes,” Herman told Fox News.

He was dismayed that the brand new jarhead would be involved in criminal activity after just joining the Marines.

“I mean, he’s got his entire life ahead of him. Why he would choose to take this direction or path, we don’t know,” he commented.

Lego theft ring busted

In another surprisingly high-priced theft, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) recovered $300,000 in stolen Legos.

While it’s not jewelry, Lego sets can go for a surprising amount of money, particularly if they are tied to a film franchise.

The Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer retails for $1,999 on Amazon, while a Marvel Avengers Tower Building Kit is sold on the site for $495.

Several Star Wars Lego sets, including the $900 Millennium Falcon, were discovered in the headquarters of a retail theft ring CHP officers raided in April

Four people were arrested in the sting and and charged with theft and conspiracy. Jeremy Johnson, 44, of Orange, California; Marta Hardt, 39, of Huntington Beach; Chung-Pei Yu, 47, of Studio City; and Shen Li, 35, of Brea, were all booked into jail.

According to CHP officials, the foursome would steal the Lego sets from Southern California big box stores and sell the merchandise to fences, who resell the goods online and to other businesses. The retail crime task force members were able to recover $300,000 in Legos sets.

Interstate retail theft ring broken up

A multi-million dollar retail theft ring was broken up in Southern California this week, when the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s arm of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force arrested eight people.

They were each charged with retail theft and receiving stolen property, and have been held on $60,000 bail a piece.

“Multiple booster crews and a large-scale fencing operation being conducted by the “bad actors” were identified and arrested,” said LASD told KTLA 5.

This particular theft ring lifted cosmetics, personal care items, and over-the-counter medications from box retailers across California, Nevada and Arizona, which were then sold to the general public by fences.

The haul that was recovered was worth several million dollars, and was found along with a stolen firearm and a large sum of cash.

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