Seven alleged members of jewelry theft ring arrested

Posted at 11:15 PM, Mar 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-22 06:44:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Federal agents arrested seven members involved in a jewelry theft ring.

El Fogon Mexican restaurant in Richmond displays surveillance stickers out front, seemingly to remind customers that there's always eyes around.

It’s something the restaurant's original owner, Alexander Cuardros-Garcia, is accused of doing, but instead of eyeing customers, police said he was eyeing jewelry stores

“I saw about 5 cop cars…,” said Alvin Brooks, from in front of El Fogon restaurant on Wednesday.

The day before, the feds arrested Cuadros-Garcia, a Colombian living in Henrico County.

Law enforcement says that Cuadros-Garcia lead a team of 6 robbers, that includes his ex-wife. The group conducted surveillance of jewelry stores, then robbed the jewelry representatives, along with their couriers.

Court papers state that the group would follow the couriers to their hotels. Then, several men would suddenly appear -- and rob them of their merchandise as soon as they got out of the car.

Police say that over a two-year period the group committed at least 15 robberies and two vehicle break-ins; stealing around $4.6 million in jewelry.

There were victims in Virginia and in six other states.

Police say the theft ring used 14 different vehicles with 17 different license plates. And, they all came from Escro Motors on Hull Street.

Police say Cuardros-Garcia owned El Fogon restaurant on Walmsley Boulevard, then sold it to his sister. Authorities say he also owned El Michoacano restaurant on Hull Street.

All seven in the jewelry ring were arrested yesterday. They each face a list of charges which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.