HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) —
A 22-year-old employee of a Houston diamond wholesaler has been arrested and charged in a diamond heist.
The alleged "inside job" started in southwest Houston where Delta Gems Diamond Wholesale has its office, and ended on the Texas-Mexico border at a crossing checkpoint.
Aisha Garcia is charged with two counts of theft, a third-degree felony, because the value of the stolen stones is said to be between $30,000 and $150,000.
According to the probable cause document, Garcia took diamonds out of the office on occasion, to deliver them to jewelers.
Last month, she allegedly took two bags of diamonds, including a pair valued at about $9,000 each.
On March 20, she filed a report with Pasadena police, claiming she was the victim of an aggravated robbery. Police said she told them she had been robbed in the parking lot, and the robber took her purse, her wallet, cellphone, and two bags containing diamonds.
From the first, police questioned her story.
A court document states, "The defendant showed signs of deception throughout the statement. The defendant could not maintain eye contact."
Several days later, according to the charging document, Garcia’s roommate said Garcia called, and asked her to put two bags from her closet into the apartment dumpster. Before depositing them, she looked in the bags and saw it was Garcia’s purse, which had been reported stolen.
At the same time, a customer contacted the wholesaler, telling him he had paid $50,000 for the diamonds Garcia had delivered. The wholesaler never received the cash, the document stated.
On March 28, Garcia and her cousin, Sarai Sifuentes, were stopped at the border crossing in Eagle Pass. Police said that Sifuentes was trying to cross into Mexico with undeclared cash. She was released, but Garcia was taken into custody when she attempted to cross the border with the passport she had reported stolen during the robbery.
Text messages containing conversations with her boyfriend in Mexico were also said to have been recovered by authorities, in which money and "stones" were mentioned.
Garcia’s bond was set at a total of $60,000, over the objection of a prosecutor who argued she was a flight risk.
Her former employer estimated the loss of the diamonds at more than $100,000.