Bond denied for woman accused in $4M jewelry store thefts

A federal judge denied bond Thursday for the 24-year-old woman accused of stealing $4M from jewelry stores.

Federal Magistrate Judge Linda Walker said Abigail Lee Kemp could be a flight risk, though the Cobb County woman’s attorney said that isn’t possible. Kemp’s public defender, Rebecca Shepard, told the court that Kemp’s family is in metro Atlanta, and Kemp lacks the resources to flee.

But at some point, Kemp allegedly had her hands on plenty of assets in the form of jewelry stolen from five stories in six states, FBI agents said. The estimated $4.3 million worth of jewelry has not been recovered.

Kemp and Lewis Jones III, 35, were partners in the series of armed robberies that began in April at Jared Vault in Woodstock and continued until Jan. 4, when a Mebane, N.C., store was targeted, according to federal investigators. In each robbery, store employees were forced at gunpoint into a back room, where their hands were tied behind their backs.

Within days of distributing photos of two suspects in the string of crimes, investigators identified the pair, thanks to tips from the public and cellphone pings. On Jan. 8, Kemp and Jones were together when agents arrived at a Smyrna apartment. Both were arrested and each charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence.

When federal investigators found the duo, they also found two loaded, semi-automatic pistols believed to have been used in the robberies, according to court documents. A black pistol, belonging to Kemp, was found in the kitchen and a pistol with a silver slide and black frame, that belonged to Jones, was found thrown under a bed, investigators said.

Kemp will remain in custody and be transferred to the Northern District of Florida. Jones, also a suspect in a DeKalb County bank robbery, is scheduled to have a bond hearing Friday in Atlanta.