ORANGE, Calif. – A $25,000 diamond was found stuck in a shower drain at the prison housing the man accused of stealing it two years ago.
Bret Allen Langford, 39, allegedly asked the owner of a Jewelry Express store to show him a 2-carat colorless diamond in April 2005. Langford then grabbed the diamond and sped away, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
Langford was arrested shortly after but the police did not retrieve the diamond. Langford was charged with commercial burglary and, after several transfers, ended up at Theo Lacy Branch Jail in Orange, where he awaited trial.
This week, an investigator representing Langford told jail officials to search the jailhouse drains if they wanted to find the diamond. Officials discovered the rock wedged in a screen beneath one of the facility's shower stalls.
Authorities said Langford told them he stole the diamond and swallowed and regurgitated the rock each time he was transferred. But 14 months ago, just as Langford was about to be searched he threw the diamond into a shower stall and it fell down the drain.
Amormino suspects Langford came forward as part of a bargain he made with prosecutors. Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office, would not confirm such a deal.
Langford's trial is set to begin May 7 and the diamond is expected to be a featured piece of evidence.
Then it will be cleaned and returned to the store.