Investigators in northwest Arkansas were able to recover more than a quarter-million dollars’ worth of loose diamonds stolen from Wal-Mart after the suspect – on a jail telephone – reportedly told his girlfriend to hide the stones before police came.
David Pittman, a former Fed-Ex driver, pleaded guilty to felony theft and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He faced a restitution hearing May 11.
According to Bentonville Detective John Hubbard, police recorded a phone call Pittman made after he was arrested on theft charges, but the diamonds hadn’t been recovered.
Hubbard said police grew suspicious when Pittman repeatedly used the term “peanuts” in a phone call.
“He’s probably going to ask you about some peanuts that they have a video of,” Pittman told his girlfriend, Amber Rae Myers, in the recording in the police investigative file. “Do you understand? What about the bedroom? Did you clean up the bedroom?” Pittman asked.
Oblivious at first, Myers answered, “Yes, on my side. Yes, I cleaned up the whole bedroom – my work clothes and all that.”
Pittman tried again.
“The stuff that’s in the curio, I’m sure that’s where he’s headed,” he said.
After that phone call, police convinced Pittman to hand over the diamonds, Hubbard said.
According to police and prosecutors, Pittman stole thousands of dollars’ worth of items while on his route as a driver for Fed Ex. Prosecutors recommended that he be required to repay $79,300.
When Pittman was arrested, police seized additional items they valued at more than $10,000 from Pittman’s bedroom, hallway closet and garage. These include cell phones, iPod music players, laptop computers, software, a monitor, DVDs, video games, knives and hats. The $250,021 in diamonds stolen from Wal-Mart was by far the seizure of greatest value.
The thefts reportedly happened in March 2006. Pittman was fired immediately, said Jim McCluskey, a FedEx spokesman.
“This was a simple issue of criminal wrongdoing. We were made aware of it, addressed it and cooperated,” McCluskey told The Morning News.
Information from: The Morning News, www.nwaonline.net/
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