Miami man arrested in connection with armed robbery of jewelry store owner

Police: Thief tried to use stolen watch, ring as collateral to rent Lamborghini

Rolando Alvarez is accused of robbing a jewelry store owner Jan. 7 in Miami.

MIAMI – A Miami man was arrested Wednesday in connection with last month’s robbery of a jewelry store owner in Little Havana, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, Rolando Alvarez, 26, was taken into custody after trying to use the victim’s stolen watch and ring as collateral to rent a green Lamborghini from an exotic car rental business at 2340 NW 27th Ave.

Police said the employee, who has a mutual friend in common with the jewelry store owner, told Alvarez he would need to take photos of the jewelry items to verify their authenticity with a jeweler.

Authorities said Alvarez admitted to the employee that the watch and ring had been obtained in an illegal manner and said he therefore didn't want photos being taken.

According to the arrest report, Alvarez agreed to pay cash for the Lamborghini and the employee notified his friend about the incident and took photos of Alvarez's vehicle -- a black Chrysler 300, which had been seen during the robbery of the jewelry store owner.

Police said the victim was shown surveillance footage of Alvarez wearing his watch, and photos of the jewelry taken by the car rental employee, which the victim immediately identified as the jewelry stolen from him.

Surveillance video also captured the Jan. 7 robbery outside Joyeria Grimal at 2742 SW Eighth St.

The video shows the owner and an employee speaking outside the business when a black pickup truck backs up in the parking lot.

A masked thief jumps out of the backseat of the truck, points what initially was thought to be a gun at the victim and steals the victim's $67,000 Patek Philippe watch and $16,000 diamond gold ring.

The victim later realized the weapon was actually a Taser, authorities said. 

The video shows the thief then running back to the truck and the driver speeds away.

The victim tried to follow the truck but eventually lost sight of it.

Another jewelry store employee, who did not witness the robbery but came outside at some point, told detectives that she saw a person wearing a skeleton ski mask get out of a black pickup truck and then saw another person with a ski mask enter a black Chrysler 300. 

According to the arrest report, the truck had been reported stolen out of the city of Miami last month.

Police said Alvarez denied being involved in the robbery, however, a search of his cellphone revealed text messages he had regarding the robbery shortly before it occurred.

Alvarez was arrested on charges of armed robbery, using a firearm during an offense, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and retaliating against a witness without bodily injury.

No other arrests have been made. It's unclear if the victim has had his jewelry returned. 

Anyone with further information about the robbery is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477. 

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Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for