Detectives on Tuesday arrested a convicted felon staying in Anaheim’s Robin Hood Hotel, who police say had secreted $178,000 worth of stolen jewelry in a magnetized box underneath his truck.
Robert Wayne Erfurt, 52, working as a caretaker in a Laguna Beach home where the theft occurred, was charged with suspicion of grand theft and methamphetamine possession, Lt. Jason Kravetz said. “He admitted to stealing the jewelry and proceeded to retrieve all of the missing items from his vehicle,” Kravetz said in a statement.
While many people had access to the residence in the 1300 block of Moorea Way during the three month period when the jewelry was on the premises, Erfurt caught the attention of officers because he hurriedly left while they were taking the initial report on Monday, April 2, Kravetz said.
Detectives went to Erfurt’s apartment in Orange, but the landlord said he picked up and left on April 2 and had not been seen since. On Tuesday, April 10, detectives found out that the suspect was staying at a hotel in Anaheim, where he was detained, Kravetz said.
Police said the missing jewelry belonged to a friend of the homeowner, who had left her belongings in Laguna in December during a home renovation in San Diego County. When she returned to Laguna Beach on March 30 to get the jewelry, she found that it had all been stolen.
One of the stolen items was a $100,000 3.5 carat yellow diamond and gold ring. The second most expensive piece was a diamond and platinum ring valued at $40,000, Kravetz said.
Erfurt has been booked at the Laguna Beach Police Department and will be transported to Orange County Jail.