Man held in Cary jewel robbery will face charges in $950,000 Pa. case

rgallagher@newsobserver.comMarch 5, 2013 

Rodger Kent Williams

WAKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

— A man who was arrested coming out of a Cary jewelry store minutes after a robbery in January will be moved to Pennsylvania to face charges in a jewel theft there, and the FBI has taken over the Cary case as part of a larger investigation, court papers showed Tuesday.

Rodger Kent Williams, 41, of Philadelphia, Pa., has been in jail in Wake County since three men robbed J.M. Edwards Fine Jewelers on Kildaire Farm Road on Jan. 28. An estimated $250,000 worth of merchandise was taken in the Edwards heist, and police said they recovered some of that when they arrested Williams.

Now police in State College, Pa., have charged him with a $950,000 robbery at Kranich’s Jewelers Inc. on Jan. 9, according to papers filed in Wake County to have Williams extradited to Pennsylvania.

According to an affidavit filed by State College Police Det. R.W. Ralston, four men – one carrying a long-barreled, silver revolver – went into Kranich’s while three employees were there and demanded keys to display cases. They scooped up jewelry and also took the store manager’s wallet, Rolex watch, a ring and a bracelet worth a total of $8,800, Ralston wrote.

Williams came to the attention of a state-federal violent crime task force in Philadelphia after he tried to sell 69 pieces of jewelry there the same afternoon, though he learned that several he thought were valuable were costume jewelry display pieces, Ralston said.

Detectives from the Philadelphia task force came to Cary early last month to talk to Williams, Ralston said, and police recovered about $2,500 worth of goods from the State College holdup later in February. Ralston said security video from both jewelry stores showed men with a similar backpack and a similar duffle bag.

State College police charged Williams with three counts of robbery – one for each employee in the store that day – conspiracy, firearm possession by a felon and endangering another person with the silver gun.

In North Carolina, Williams is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon because of an earlier robbery conviction in Pennsylvania.

Cary Capt. Don Hamilton said the case against Williams in Cary has been turned over to the FBI in Philadelphia because it might be connected to other cases federal investigators are pursuing.

Cary police said Williams had a silver Smith and Wesson .357 revolver when he came out the back door of Edwards and encountered a Cary officer who had just answered a 911 call about a robbery in progress. Police have been unable to find the men they said were with Williams that day.

The officer who caught Williams could stop only one man, Hamilton said, and the other two fled.

Why the robbery happened in Cary remains a mystery, Hamilton said. Police immediately began checking for relatives or other connections between Williams and the Triangle, hoping to get a lead on the other men.

Thus far, he said, they have not been able to find any explanation for why Williams would be in Wake County, and he was not helpful in conversations with Cary detectives.

Williams was still being held in the Wake County Detention Center on Wednesday in lieu of $1.5 million bail in the Cary case.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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