Jewelry heist thwarted thanks to good timing, luck

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A would-be thief trying to make off with tens of thousands of dollars in stolen jewelry was quickly caught thanks to good timing by Kansas City, Mo., police officers Tuesday night.

Sgt. Rod Gentry said the suspect, 54-year-old Marion Hamilton, hid in a merchandise loft in a back storage room, waiting for the Kmart to close at 5615 East Bannister Road.

Around 11 p.m., Gentry said the Hamilton cleaned out the jewelry department of around $75,000 worth of merchandise.

Gentry said the suspect set off interior motion sensors, so officers were dispatched to the store. They arrived just in time to see Hamilton running across the parking lot with a backpack full of jewelry. Gentry said he used a sledgehammer to break through the glass front door.

Gentry said the crime could have been stopped sooner because two Kmart employees spotted the man inside the store after hours, but he was not questioned.

"Look around your store at night, be aware of your surroundings and don't be afraid to question somebody that's in an area or section or quadrant of the store they shouldn't be in," Gentry said.

Hamilton has been charged with second-degree burglary and felony theft of more than $25,000. The Jackson County Prosecutor's office said Hamilton has six previous felony convictions including second-degree murder.

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