Jewel theft suspect leaves hospital

LAWRENCEVILLE -- One of two men accused of stealing more than $150,000 in jewelry from the Mall of Georgia has been released from the hospital.

Bandaged and bruised, sporting hospital garb and a sling on his left arm, 23-year-old Kamel Antwan Thompson, of Morrow, was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on Thursday on numerous charges including robbery, serious injury by vehicle and violating parole.

Thompson and an alleged accomplice, who remains hospitalized and unidentified, are accused of robbing Gordon's Jewelers on Feb. 8 and attempting a high-speed getaway before crashing into a tractor trailer.

According to reports, a Gordon's employee noticed the unidentified man -- wearing black gloves, a Foot Locker shirt and carrying a black bag -- walking in front of the store. She said she immediately recognized him as the person who had stolen several rings from the store just a week earlier.

The woman called security but before officers arrived, reports said, Thompson joined the man and the pair bumrushed the store, pulled two hammers from the bag and smashed their way into a display case as employees huddled behind a counter.

Police said the men stuffed diamond rings into the bag and their clothing before ditching the hammers and running out of the store, pursued by security personnel who saw them get into a silver Pontiac Bonneville.

Moments later, a Gwinnett police officer parked in the median saw the vehicle speeding southbound on Interstate 85. A department spokesman said the officer was pulling into traffic to maintain a visual when Thompson lost control of the car and slammed into the median wall.

He regained control, the officer reported, exited onto the Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road exit and struck the rig.

Responding officers said they found the duffel bag containing the stolen jewelry next to the wreckage.

Thompson was immediately taken to the hospital while it took rescuers more than an hour to free the second suspect from the back seat.

Police said the man was not carrying identification and was too injured to speak.

Friday, a police spokesman said he was unsure if investigators have identified the man.

As hospital personnel were conducting a CT scan on the man, reports said, a diamond ring, still bearing the sales tag, fell from his "bundled and bloody clothing."

Jail records show that Thompson was paroled from prison in 2008 after serving time for thefts in Gwinnett, Douglas, Carroll and Clayton counties.