Diamond Swallowing as a Ruse

It’s a known theft tactic to swallow what you’re stealing. It works for food at the supermarket, and it also can work for diamonds. Here’s a twist on that tactic:

Police say he could have swallowed the stone in an attempt to distract the diamond’s owner, Suresh de Silva, while his accomplice stole the real gem.

Mr de Silva told the BBC that the Chinese men had visited the stall twice and he believed the diamond theft occurred during the first visit and not the second one, when the man swallowed the stone.

He insisted the man was trying to swap a fake stone for the real one and only swallowed the stone when he panicked after Mr de Silva apprehended him and alerted police.

This reminds me of group pickpocket tactics against tourists: the person who steals the wallet quickly passes it to someone else, so if the victim grabs the attacker, the wallet is long gone.

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 7:03 AM10 Comments


Bob T September 17, 2012 8:03 AM

Apparently, the owner never saw the Three Stooges episode with King Rutin Tutin where the gems had a coating of poison on them. Poor Shemp.

vwm September 17, 2012 8:10 AM

So we got swallowing the prize on the on hand and passing the prize on, on the other… ergo, if you see a couple french kissing at the jeweller, better arrest both.

Jason September 17, 2012 8:14 AM

Other possibilities: the swallowed gem was real, and the cops decided to keep it; or the gem was fake all along, and the shopkeeper’s out to protect his reputation.

Nick September 17, 2012 8:14 AM

There was one error. He should have swallowed something that dissolved internally. That way no evidence is excreted.

The problem is that people don’t often excrete fake diamonds. Now there is a case against him, at least for conspiracy to commit theft.

  1. Real diamond is missing.
  2. Fake diamond passed.

If it was just

  1. Real diamond missing
  2. No diamond passed

He has a valid defence.

B. D. Johnson September 17, 2012 1:48 PM

On a pickpocket tangent one of the more clever ideas (this was done by white hat guys in a show about avoiding pickpockets) was to place a sign out that say “Pickpockets operate in the area. Watch your wallet.” When they saw the sign people would immediately reach to wherever their wallet was to check it. Made stealing it much easier because they knew exactly where it was.

curtmack September 18, 2012 2:10 PM

I hate to mean, but: “Mr. de Silva” having precious jewels stolen from him sounds suspiciously like something out of the Hardy Boys or Encyclopedia Brown.

S. Liss September 18, 2012 3:46 PM

At Dam Square in Amsterdam a Gypsy/Roma looking woman somewhat weirdly offered a camera to me, as if she wanted me to take a picture. I smelled a rat and spun around, and there was a guy right behind me, inside the usual North American comfort space. If I had taken the camera both of my arms would have been preoccupied with something other than defending my pockets against a pick. In hindsight I should have stomped the camera, but this happened pretty fast and I processed it mostly after the fact. Almost all of the Dutch folks seem to wear dark (gray/brown) nodescript outerwear (this was November). My blue jacket stuck out like a sore thumb and must have marked me as a tourist.

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