Police: Former US senator's Jewelry Found in Vegas

By: Ken Ritter AP
By: Ken Ritter AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Police seized more than $400,000 worth of jewelry designed by former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell in a cache of items found during the arrest of a man who was alleged to have been planning a coin truck heist, authorities said Thursday.

Brett Clinton Combs, 28, was arrested Jan. 8 at a southeast Las Vegas home where investigators said they also found several guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and about $25,000 worth of additional merchandise allegedly stolen during other robberies in Colorado and Farmington, N.M.

Officer Bill Cassell said Las Vegas police went to the home to investigate a report that Combs planned to hold up a truck making cash deliveries to casinos.

"That was the original reason he came on our radar," said Cassell. "Obviously, that never came to fruition."

Combs was being held at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas on a probation violation and three felony charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer said. He is scheduled for a March 18 court appearance.

Police said they believed the Campbell jewelry was stolen in a Nov. 17 armed robbery at a gallery in Durango, Colo., and that not all of it had been recovered.

More than 60 pieces of jewelry created by the former senator from Colorado were stolen from his daughter's Sorrel Sky Gallery. The robber pointed a gun at an employee and ordered her to unlock two jewelry cases, which contained bracelets, rings and pendants.

Campbell said most of the pieces taken were fashioned out of 18-karat gold, and several had a retail value of more than $10,000. The most expensive item was a diamond-studded bracelet worth $40,000, he said at the time.

Officials said the American Indian-style pieces were stamped with the senator's name and had custom serial numbers, making them easily recognizable as having been made by Campbell, who served as a Republican in the Senate from 1993 to 2005. His jewelry has been
featured in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

Investigators said they think Combs may have been involved in several burglaries and armed robberies since 2005 in Colorado and New Mexico. Investigators don't think Combs acted alone in those robberies, but no other suspects were immediately identified.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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