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Friday, July 16, 2010

Stolen LeBron James Pendant Worth $10,000! Police Investigate

Stolen LeBron James Pendant Center Of Police Investigation

The Akron, Ohio woman who said she bought a LeBron James pendant years ago at a yard sale and told NewsChannel5 she was threatened by one of LeBron's associates and forced to hand over the one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry is now being called a suspect in the case.

On Friday, a police report identifies 19-year-old Vaneisha Robinson of Akron as a suspect in receiving stolen property but doesn't elaborate. No arrests have been made.

Just a few days ago, Robinson said she believed her dreams were about to come true. As NewsChannel5 and first reported, Robinson said she paid $5 for a pendant in the shape of LeBron James' number 23 jersey at a yard sale four years ago.

Robinson said she thought it was costume jewelry until she had it appraised and certified by International Gemological Institute, which said the diamond-studded, gold jewelry was real and valued at nearly $10,000.

The amateur boxer put the pendant up for sale on eBay, hoping to use the proceeds to open her own gym.

On Wednesday, Robinson said she got a phone call that turned her dream into a nightmare. Robinson said it was Katherine L. Powers, the mother of Maverick O. Carter. Carter is the CEO of LeBron James' marketing company, LRMR.

"[Powers] said that LeBron James was at her house and they wanted me to come over there. They were going to make me an offer that I couldn't refuse," Robinson said.

It turned out the one-of-a-kind pendant belongs to Carter, who claims it was stolen. Robinson said she and her mother went to the Wadsworth house Carter shares with his mother, believing James was going to buy the pendant and give it back to Carter.

"When I got there, LeBron James was not there. It was about eight or nine other people there," Robinson said. "They pretty much accused me, they threatened me and they used their authority to they (sic) best ability to get the pendant in their possession."

Robinson said she and her mother drove to Carter's house in the 500 block of Caledonia Drive in her mother's pickup truck.

"They blocked her truck in the driveway. They told us that we weren't going anywhere until they got that pendant. I was scared for my life," she said.

Wadsworth police said they were called around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night by a woman visiting a neighbor of Powers. According to a recording of the 911 call, the woman heard loud arguing. She said she called the police at Powers’s request.

"I walked away from that. I just kept walking just in case something was about to happen," the woman told the 911 dispatcher.

A Wadsworth police spokesperson said Robinson and her mother had already left when they arrived on scene. Powers was the only one there. She had the pendant.

"Ms. Powers showed me the pendant in question and I was able to determine that it was a one-of-a-kind item and it did actually belong to Mr. Carter," said Sgt. James Elchlinger.

Elchlinger said Carter was not at the house during the incident. A receptionist at LRMR told NewsChannel5 Thursday that Carter was unavailable for comment. Powers was not home when a reporter stopped at the house seeking an interview.

The case is under investigation.

Robinson did not call police Wednesday night, but showed up at the station Thursday afternoon. Robinson said she was advised to get a lawyer.

Police are trying to determine if the pendant was ever reported stolen. But Robinson maintains she could not have had the jewelry certified by the I.G.S. if it were stolen property.

The boxer vowed her next fight will be in a court of law.

"There was no serial number on that pendant so it's untraceable," Robinson said. "That pendant is mine. It belongs to me. I want it back."

Legal perspective

Legal expert Avery Friedman provided some perspective with the case.

“It is actually Miss Robinson’s,” Friedman said. “The law says that she is an innocent purchaser for value, meaning that when she bought it at the yard sale, it is hers.”

“What happened was that she wound up getting sucker punched by part of the posse, if you will, eight or nine people basically saying, ‘if you don’t turn it over, you may not get out of here.’ So she was intimidated in being forced to turn it over,” he said.

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