Quick-Thinking Jeweler Nabs Suspected Scammer - by Locking Her in Vault

Playing How This Quick-Thinking Jeweler Locked a Suspected Thief Inside

A crafty jewelry store owner in Florida had other ideas when he says a 46-year-old woman was scheming against him, and he didn't have to look far for a way to stop her.

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Jeweler Vladislav "Bobby" Yampolsky says that when the woman entered his exclusive store in Boca Raton on March 18, he led her directly to the giant vault where his most exquisite gems are stored.

And that's exactly what she was looking for, but he says she didn't intend to pay.

"This woman was planning on leaving with $7 million worth of diamonds without us even knowing it," Yampolsky told Inside Edition.

After she agreed to buy 11 rings valued at $7 million, he says the suspect, identified as Fatima Milanovic, made her move and asked to wrap up the jewels herself.

"She brought her own materials," Yampolsky recalled. "She actually brought her own role of tape out and a bunch of tissues and a little pouch. She was so nervous, I think, her hands were shaking." 

Boca Raton police said that the suspect tried to trick Yampolsky into taking a replica package with fake stones so she could take the real ones.

Surveillance video showed how she tried to slip the package into her black briefcase. Cameras also caught her handing him a package that was filled with fake gems and diamonds.

The jeweler says the scam was so obvious it was almost laughable. He grabbed her briefcase and a physical struggle ensued.

"She wasn’t letting it go. She was holding onto that briefcase [for] dear life," he said. 

He then shut both the glass and steel doors of the vault, locking her inside, before calling police.

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Cameras filmed Milanovic as she desperately tried to shove the phony package up her skirt. When that failed, she ripped it to pieces. Within 10 minutes, police were on the scene and placed her under arrest.

"She was actually very calm, she actually handed them a $50 bill and actually asked them to pay the taxi that was waiting outside. It was almost comical," Yampolsky said. 

She was then arrested on charges of grand theft and organized fraud. She waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty. Her address was not known, but officers found her in possession of a French passport.

She was released from jail on $50,000 bond.

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