Suspect in Murder of Westport Jeweler Arrested in Spain
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 24, 2012|
United States Attorney David B. Fein; Westport Police Chief Dale E. Call; Colonel Danny R. Stebbins of the Connecticut State Police; Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and United States Marshal Joseph P. Faughnan today announced that ANDREW ROBERT LEVENE, also known as “Robert Thomas,” 41, was arrested yesterday in Spain on federal murder, robbery, and firearm charges.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed in the District of Connecticut, it is alleged that on the evening of December 8, 2011, LEVENE met with the owner of YZ Manufacturers, LLC, (“Y.Z. Jewelers”) in Westport, Conn., pretending he was going to complete the purchase of several large diamonds he had arranged to buy earlier that month. Instead, LEVENE shot and killed the owner of Y.Z. Jewelers, shot and wounded the owner’s associate, stole approximately $300,000 in diamonds, and later fled the United States to Europe.
“I want to commend the Westport Police, Connecticut State Police, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania, New York, and Spain for their expert, coordinated investigation that has led to the apprehension of this defendant,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.
“We are proud of the efforts of law enforcement officials on the local, state, federal, and international level who all contributed to the investigation and apprehension of this suspect,” stated Westport Police Chief Call. “We hope that it brings some peace of mind to the victims’ families.”
According to court documents, it is alleged that in early December 2011, LEVENE contacted the owner of Y.Z. Jewelers, a diamond dealership located at 431 Post Road East in Westport, and asked the owner to locate several diamonds that were between two and three karats in size and valued between $45,000 and $75,000. On the evening of December 7, 2011, the owner of Y.Z. Jewelers and an associate met LEVENE at the dealership. LEVENE examined the diamonds but told the owner he would have to “sleep on it.”
It is further alleged that, on the morning of December 8, 2011, the owner of Y.Z. Jewelers called his associate to inform him that he had scheduled a meeting with LEVENE for later that evening and asked his associate to bring to Westport the diamonds previously viewed, as well as additional diamonds. When the associate arrived at the dealership that evening, the owner and LEVENE were already in the store. The owner then showed LEVENE six diamonds with a total value of approximately $300,000. After looking at the diamonds and conversing for several minutes, LEVENE took out a gun and shot the owner and his associate. LEVENE then took the diamonds and let himself out of the store.
After LEVENE left the store, the associate placed a 9-1-1 emergency call. The owner of Y.Z. Jewelers was transported to Norwalk Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His associate also was transported to Norwalk Hospital for treatment.
On December 11, 2011, LEVENE allegedly flew from Philadelphia to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
LEVENE was arrested on January 23 by Spanish National Police.
The criminal complaint charges LEVENE with one count of interference with commerce through robbery, one count of federal murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of causing death through the use of a firearm.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Westport Police Department, Connecticut State Police Detectives of the Western District Major Crime Squad, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The investigation has been assisted by the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk, the Philadelphia Police Department’s Homicide Unit, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New York Police Department, Interpol Spain and Interpol, United States National Central Bureau in Washington, D.C.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tracy Lee Dayton and Vanessa Richards.