The model and former lingerie football player accused of stealing $4million of jewelry from stores across the South wept softly as she was led from a federal courtroom in Atlanta after her first appearance before a judge.
Abigail Lee Kemp, 24, faces 20 years in jail if found guilty of the heists in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. She faces charges of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence.
She was arrested on Friday in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, Georgia, following tip-offs from the public after police released CCTV footage of the alleged incidents.
At Thursday’s hearing, Kemp appeared in a pink fleece and said little except to answer yes to a few routine questions from U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker and it was revealed that her cell phone finally led to her arrest.
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In court: Abigail Kemp, 24, was led out of court in tears after appearing for the first time accused of stealing $4 million in jewelry from stores across the South. She said little but to answer questions from the judge
Kemp (second left) was ‘the life of the party,’ friends said. She was a waitress at Hooters and Twin Peaks and played lingerie football for Atlanta Steam. But court papers paint a different image of the 24-year-old
According to police, this is CCTV footage showing Kemp robbing jewelry stores across the South
The New York Daily News reported that cell tower data at the time of some of the robberies revealed the northern Georgia cell phone number near the scenes of the crimes. That number belonged to Kemp.
In a statement The FBI said: ‘Within hours of issuing a press release this week requesting assistance in identifying the suspects, the FBI Jacksonville Division began to receive numerous credible leads from the public.’
The Daily News added that an agent’s sworn statement added: ‘Some citizens further advised that during recent contacts with Kemp, she was wearing expensive jewelry that some of the callers believe she cannot afford.
‘Some citizens also advised that Kemp possesses a black handgun and recently had her car painted black.’
Her emotional appearance came as friends told ABC Kemp was the ‘life of the party’ and ‘when she was there you knew it was a good time’.
But court filings paint a dramatically different picture of the 24-year-old, who used to work at Twin Peaks and Hooters when she wasn’t competing with lingerie-clad football squad Atlanta Steam.
Police claim she is the scantily-clad brunette girl seen striding through jewelry stores in as little as a vest top, shorts, and a pair of gloves – grabbing bags’ worth of jewels.
She has been dubbed the ‘Diamond Diva’ and ‘jogger jewelry thief’.
Judge Walker set a Thursday hearing to decide conditions of Kemp’s detention and appointed federal public defender Rebecca Shepard to represent her. Shepherd declined to comment.
The FBI said in statement another person with Kemp then also was taken into custody, but the agency cited the ongoing investigation in declining to identify the other person.
Kemp’s hometown also wasn’t released, and it wasn’t immediately known if she had an attorney.
Kemp is accused of pulling off near-identical heists in Sevierville, Tennessee; Bluffton, South Carolina; Panama City Beach, Florida; and Dawsonville and Woodstock in Georgia.
The latest robbery occurred recently in Mebane, North Carolina, according to the FBI.
Investigators believe she drove a Honda Civic, which belonged to a relative, and that the color had been changed from maroon to black.
The 24-year-old’s alleged spree came to an end on Friday when she was arrested and taken into custody (mugshot left)
The FBI said in statement another person with Kemp then also was taken into custody, but the agency cited the ongoing investigation in declining to identify the other person or give more details about the arrests
Kemp is seen walking through one of the jewelry stores with sneakers and what appears to be a drill