Authorities say they have arrested the female suspect in a string of jewelry store robberies across the Southeast, including one in Sevierville.
The Jacksonville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that Abigail Lee Kemp, 24, was arrested on Jan. 8, 2016 in Smyrna, Ga. in connection with jewelry store robberies in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.
The FBI was also looking for a black male suspect seen on surveillance videos at two of the robberies who is believed to be her accomplice. Another person with Kemp at the time of her arrest was taken into custody, but the FBI declined to release the identity of that person or the circumstances of the arrests because the investigation is ongoing.
Kemp allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of jewelry from the jewelry display cases of Jared Vault Jewelry Store at Tanger Outlet in Sevierville on Oct. 16, 2015 after using a handgun to coerce two store employees to lie face down on the floor and then tying their hands behind their back with zip ties.
Kemp allegedly carried out the following jewelry store robberies:
- Jared Jewelry in Woodstock, Ga. on April 29, 2015
- Zale’s Jewelry in Dawsonville, Ga. on Aug. 5, 2015
- Reeds Jewelers in Panama City Beach, Fla. on Aug. 11, 2015
- Jared Jewelry in Bluffton, S.C. on Sept. 2, 2015
- Jared Vault in Sevierville, Tenn. on Oct. 16, 2015
- Jared Vault in Mebane, N.C. on Jan. 4, 2016
The FBI said that within hours of releasing surveillance images and video taken during the robbery of Jared Vault in Mebane, N.C., numerous credible leads came from the public. An affidavit for a warrant for Kemp’s arrest stated that a number of citizens contacted authorities to identify the female suspect as Kemp. Some even reported that they had seen her wearing expensive jewelry they believed she could not afford.
While the FBI declined to release any further information about the case, the affidavit does reveal a few details, including that cell tower information confirmed Kemp’s cell phone appeared at or near three of the robberies.
Agents determined that Kemp drove a maroon, four-door 2006 Honda Civic registered to a relative that was similar to a car seen near the robberies and used Georgia’s license plate reader system, cameras mounted on police cars or along roadways that scan and record the license plates of cars as they drive by, to search for recorded data of Kemp’s car and found it had been scanned at various locations during time periods that linked it to robberies.
Tipsters also told authorities that Kemp owned a black handgun and that she recently had her maroon car painted black.
“We thank the many callers who provided us with information to assist in the investigation,” said Michelle S. Klimt, special agent in charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “You are one of the most valuable resources law enforcement has in fighting crime and we appreciate your efforts.”
The FBI has not released the total value of jewelry taken during the robberies, but the affidavit shows $400,000 in jewelry taken from Reed’s Jewelry in Panama City, Fla., $900,000 from the Jared Vault in Sevierville, Tenn. and more than $938,000 from the most recent robbery of Jared Vault in Mebane, N.C. The agency would not confirm if any of the jewelry had been recovered.
Kemp has been charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.