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2nd Suspect in Jewelry Store Heists was Wanted for Violent Bank Robberies

2nd Suspect in Jewelry Heists was Wanted for Violent Bank Robberies

The second suspect arrested in connection with a string of jewelry heists in the Southeast, including the Jared Vault in Sevierville, Tenn., was also wanted for committing violent bank robberies in the metro Atlanta area.

The Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday that agents and officers assisting from the Atlanta Police Department arrested 35-year-old Lewis Jones III of Smyrna, Ga. on Jan. 8, 2016 for his role in two violent armed bank robberies. Jones allegedly participated in the armed robberies of the Navy Federal Credit Union in Atlanta, Ga. on Aug. 12, 2014 and Regions Bank in Smyrna, Ga. on Sept. 9, 2014 with two other men.

Jones, who was already wanted in connection with the bank robberies, was found in the company of Abigail Lee Kemp, 24, who FBI agents identified as a suspect in six jewelry store robberies following multiple tips from the public. The FBI was also looking for a black male suspect captured by surveillance cameras during two of the jewelry heists that they believed to be her accomplice.

35-year-old Lewis Jones III

35-year-old Lewis Jones III

24-year-old Abigail Lee Kemp

24-year-old Abigail Lee Kemp

“As a result of further investigative efforts since that time, Jones is now named as the second suspect who the FBI was seeking to identify,” said Amanda Warford Videll, spokesperson for the FBI’s Jacksonville Division.

Authorities believe the pair carried out the following jewelry heists:

  • 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

An affidavit for Jones arrest warrant says that Kemp told agents Lewis Jones III, who Kemp knew as “Lou,” was involved in the jewelry store robberies.

Surveillance cameras allegedly captured images of both Kemp and Jones during the robbery of the Jared Vault in Woodstock, Ga. on April 28, 2015. Jones ordered store employees to the back of the store at gunpoint, binding their hands with zip ties after they laid face down on the floor. Kemp then acted as lookout while Jones removed jewelry from display cases.

Jewelry Store Armed RobberyIn the Aug. 11, 2015 robbery of Reeds Jewelry in Panama City Beach, Fla., Jones was allegedly caught on camera as he removed the front door stop and shut the front door of the store, remaining outside while Kemp subdued store employees and emptied the display cases of jewelry.

Kemp wore a cell phone and Bluetooth earpiece in each of the six jewelry store robberies. She told agents after her arrest that it was used to communicate with Jones during all the robberies where she went in by herself and he remained outside acting as a lookout.

Two semi-automatic pistols were recovered from the apartment and appear to be those shown on surveillance video from the robberies. One belongs to Kemp. Agents determined that Jones threw the other pistol under the bed as agents entered the apartment.

In addition to charges related to the armed bank robberies, Jones has been charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence for the jewelry heists and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

About Candice Fitzgibbons

I am a Sevier County resident and active in my local community. I've spent more than 20 years as a graphic designer and copywriter, creating marketing materials to help small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations achieve their goals. I have a passion for equality, the environment and animal rights.