Monroeville jewel heist probe hits dead ends
Investigators trying to determine who stole jewelry worth $250,000 from a car parked in Monroeville have hit dead ends in the case.
Police say the thief took jewelry from Raj Dhanak, 47, of the Atlanta suburb of Lilburn, who earns his living by hosting private jewelry shows, mostly for Indian-Americans.
Dhanak parked his rental car in the lot of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel near Monroeville Mall late at night on April 12, when he arrived from Cincinnati, where he hosted a show that day.
Monroeville police hoped to glean something from surveillance cameras but could not.
“We couldn't get anything off the video because the car was parked in a weird spot,” said Monroeville police Chief Steven Pascarella.
Detectives have not located witnesses, Pascarella said.
“We're checking with other jurisdictions to see if they can provide us with any information,” he said.
Investigators suspect the thief knew Dhanak's routine and followed him to the hotel.
Whoever stole the jewelry, contained in six bags, broke a window to gain access to the trunk. Dhanak told police he thought the jewelry would be safer there than if he carried it in and out of the hotel.
Dhanak's insurance company later told him that the stolen jewelry would be covered only if he kept it with him at all times, police said.
Blood collected from inside the vehicle was sent to the Allegheny County crime lab for analysis, but test results could take weeks since violent crimes take precedence, said Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams.
“A good blood sample can be sequenced to create a DNA profile that can be entered into the FBI's CODIS database to try to get a match,” Williams said. But he noted that although CODIS — the Combined DNA Index System — contains millions of DNA profiles, they belong to people convicted of crimes.
“Unless the person's DNA profile is already in the system, it won't do much for the investigation,” he said.
Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- VA hospitals in Pittsburgh, Erie turn attention to female veterans’ needs
- Allegheny County Controller Wagner claims rival Flaherty benefits from ‘dark money’
- Penn Hills School District brings on former employee as consultant
- Western Pennsylvania watchmaking company says worker safe in earthquake
- Work to begin on Fifth Avenue apartments in Uptown
- McKees Rocks council president arrested after SWAT standoff
- Duquesne University, union spar over labor laws
- Baby makes arrival at fast food restaurant in Hazelwood
- Newsmaker: Leslie Geier
- Allegheny County Council will have new look
- Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School