Famous Senator's Stolen Jewelry Found in Las Vegas

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 switched
from Democrat to Republican while serving 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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