Allegedly Fake Diamond Heist Sounds Complicated, Fails


Two jewelers are accused of hiring men to fake-rob their Midtown offices in order to collect insurance money, the New York Post reports. Mahiveer Kankariya and Atul Shah went on trial today, and the specifics of their alleged scheme sound pretty fun, if not short-sighted and poorly executed.

On New Year’s Eve 2008, two men dressed as Hasids pretended to be customers to gain entry to Kankariya and Shah’s shared offices. After being led into a back room, they held everybody captive at gunpoint. The phony Hasids then pulled the ol’ “spray paint the security cameras and pour drain cleaner onto the recording equipment to get rid of all the surveillance footage” trick.

One problem: The drain cleaner didn’t seep into the motherboard.


Prosecutor Eugene Hurley told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber that his evidence, including the recovered surveillance footage — shows the defendants conspired to pull the actual jewelry out of the safes and fill the safe with empty cardboard jewelry storage boxes prior to the robbery.

“They filled the safe with empty jewelry boxes so they could be strewn around the room by the fake robbers,” Hurley said in opening statements.

Desperate and broke coworkers cook up a harebrained plan that ultimately fails? These guys basically made their own, real-life Coen brothers movie. As the trial progresses we’ll probably find out that Mahiveer Kankariya is a robe-wearing slacker who loves to bowl, or that Atul Shah worked at a gym and was trying to get money for a boob job.

‘Snatch’ diamond heist trial opens in Manhattan [New York Post]

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 7, 2011

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