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Suspect in diamond thefts kills self

LAWRENCEVILLE - Police say the man suspected of swiping diamonds from multiple area jewelry stores killed himself earlier this week in Riverdale.

Ramondo Bumpus, 35, of Rex, reportedly saw himself on a local television news program that broadcast surveillance video from a robbery at Barron's Fine Jewelers in Snellville. He apparently became despondent Wednesday, barricaded himself in a spare bedroom and shot himself. The suicide occurred at an ex-girlfriend's residence whom he hadn't seen in about a year, according to Chief Roy Whitehead of the Snellville Police Department.

"Apparently he had a lot of problems in his life, and that was just one of them," Whitehead said.

Police say they have not recovered any of the diamonds.

The girlfriend found a note in her apartment telling her to call police. Officers who responded found Bumpus, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators spoke with an acquaintance of Bumpus who said Bumpus admitted committing the robbery in Snellville, Whitehead said.

Bumpus is suspected of robbing several other jewelry stores in Gwinnett and DeKalb county over the past few weeks. The method of operation was always the same. However, investigators believe Bumpus may have had an accomplice or copycat. He was over 6 feet tall and the suspect described in several of the robberies is described as being much shorter, about 5 feet 6 inches, Whitehead said.

"We're trying to get some of these surveillance videos together to see if this guy did more than this one, or if there were other people involved," Whitehead said.

The thief always called ahead and asked to see large diamonds. Later that day he would show up, wait for a clerk to display the jewelry and then snatch it away from the employee and dash for the door. Police said the man seemed very knowledgeable about diamonds and asked for stones that weighed two to four carats.

On Monday, a two-carat diamond ring and a pair of 1/2 carat diamond earrings were taken from Littman Jewelers in the Mall of Georgia in Buford. On Friday, Bumpus reportedly pocketed two three-carat diamonds and a four-carat diamond from Barron's Fine Jewelers in Snellville.

Someone also stole two, two-carat diamonds from Forever Diamonds in Discover Mills on Sept. 24 and took a $15,000 diamond ring from Camelot Jewelers in Dunwoody in May.

The suspect has been described by witnesses as a well-dressed, clean-cut black man of medium complexion.