On October 5, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted three men accused of robbery.

On October 5, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted three men accused of robbery.

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A man dropped his phone during a $2.6 million jewelry heist in California, leading to three arrests, federal prosecutors said.

Long Beach residents Jimmy Lee Vernon III, 31, Ladell Tharp, 37, and Deshaun Bell, 20, were indicted Oct. 5 by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy and interference with commerce by robbery, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Vernon’s attorney told McClatchy News they had no comment. Bell’s attorney did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment. And an attorney was not listed in Tharpe’s online court records.

The three men and other suspects drove from Long Beach to Beverly Hills on March 23, according to a news release.

Vernon and the others then got out of their cars and smashed the windows Beverly Hills Luxury Jewels with a crowbar and other tools, the complaint says.

Bell was waiting in a car nearby, the release said.

Beverly Hills police responded to a robbery call at 1:45 p.m. and said the robbery occurred while employees and customers were inside the jewelry store.

They are accused of stealing at least $2,674,000 worth of jewelry, including 19 bracelets, seven pairs of earrings, four necklaces, a pair of obelisks, eight rings and 20 watches.

Vernon dropped his cell phone during the robbery, and police ran a DNA test on it, which matched, the complaint said.

Police also obtained search warrants for the men’s phones and found they were all near the crime scene, the complaint said.

Investigators also discovered Tharpe’s Instagram posts with photos of large stacks of money and the message “robbery gang,” the release said.

Vernon is being held without bond. His next court hearing is on October 13.

Tharp is in state custody and will be arraigned in a few weeks, the release said.

Bell was released from custody on bail. Its next meeting is on October 20.

Each man faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on each count.

The juvenile was charged in Los Angeles Superior Court with commercial theft in connection with the robbery, according to the release.

Helena Wegner is McClatchy’s real-time national reporter covering Washington state and the western region. She graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a degree in journalism. She is in Phoenix.