Thief re-swallows diamond ring after passing it

Last updated 19:10 07/08/2014
diamond ring, engagement
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RING WITH A STORY: This ring, which was swallowed and passed by a thief, fetched just NZ $17,500 at auction.

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A Brisbane thief who swallowed two diamond rings - one for a second time after it passed through his system - will now have to cough up $11,000 (NZ$12,000) in compensation.

David William Watts, 50, was browsing at Crown Family Jewellers at Indooroopilly, in Brisbane's west, in November last year when he snatched the two engagement rings and ran.

When police caught up with him, the jewels, collectively worth nearly $60,000 (NZ$66,000), were nowhere to be seen.

Watts spent 11 days in custody while police waited for him to pass on the evidence, but the process was far from smooth.

He was told to recover the evidence himself, but police did not examine the contents of his first bowel movement and later realised there was only one ring left in Watts' system.

"Why they wouldn't check that is beyond me," Magistrate Noel Noonan said.

The Brisbane Magistrates Court heard Watts later passed the second ring, but rinsed it in the shower before swallowing it again.

It was eventually recovered during a colonoscopy and auctioned for charity.

Watts pleaded guilty to one count of stealing property worth in excess of $5000 and three unrelated charges.

He received a six-month suspended jail sentence.

Outside court, Watts accused Queensland police of mistreating him and threatening to kill him.

He said he re-swallowed the diamond ring because he feared police would steal the second ring, alleging they had stolen the first.

"Of course they did. Ethical Standards know. All they had to do was go through the s***," he said.

"It wasn't my onus to do it, as the judge said up there, it was their onus.''

He said he stole the rings because he needed money.

"I was in Boys Town, and I'm waiting for compensation. I've had a problem getting a job all my life," he said.

Watts has been ordered to pay $11,000 (NZ$12,000) in compensation which he said would come out of his pension.

He warned other would-be diamond thieves not to copy his behaviour.

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