CRIME

Richard Matthews Accused of Swallowing Diamond, Watched To See If Jewel Passes

05/16/2012 05:33 pm ET

Police in Canada say they have had no luck retrieving a $20,000 diamond that was allegedly ingested last week by a well-known jewel thief.

"He has had numerous, numerous bowel movements and our forensic officers have been sifting through his waste, but at this point we haven't had any luck," Windsor Police Service Sgt. Brett Corey told The Huffington Post.

Police have been waiting nearly a week for 52-year-old Richard Matthews, an ex-con with a lengthy criminal record, to pass the diamond through his digestive system.

There is no question, Corey said, that the gem is there and that it is not alone. "We took him to the hospital for X-rays to see where the stone is and we found three stones, two that we believe are cubic zirconia, and the one diamond. They seem to be lodged in his lower intestine," Corey said.

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Authorities said they believe Matthews swallowed the stones May 10, when he went to Precision Jewellers in Windsor, Ontario, and asked to see a 1.7-karat diamond.

"It was a loose stone. He picked it up and then I noticed he switched it, because when he put it back, I saw [the one he put down] was a cubic zirconia," Precision Jewellers employee Liz Dick told HuffPost.

Dick alerted a fellow employee about the alleged theft and police soon arrived, but not before Matthews allegedly hid the evidence. "By his movements, I saw he had put it in his mouth," Dick said. "The police took him into the bathroom and did a strip search but they didn't find it."

Since that time, Matthews has been incarcerated in a jail cell with no plumbing and has been provided with a bedpan so authorities can sift through his waste.

"He is in what we call a 'dry cell'," Corey said. "It does not have a toilet, sink or anything else for that matter. He is being allowed to eat solid food and he's been given cleansing substances to try to pass the stone."

Matthews has several prior convictions for fraud and is wanted in Toronto on an outstanding warrant. In the incident, he was charged with theft over $5,000. Once the diamond is retrieved, an additional charge of possession of stolen property will be filed against him, police said.

But for now, everything is at a standstill while nature takes its course. "Right now we're sitting, watching and waiting," Corey said. "He's being very cooperative with us and we're attempting to obtain the evidence so we can return it to the owners."

As for the diamond's future, Dick said it remains uncertain. "I don't know, maybe we'll call it a chocolate diamond," she said, laughing.

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