Colombian Woman Accused of $32K Jewelry Theft Arrested at Fort Lauderdale Airport

A 39-year-old accused jewel thief from Colombia was arrested as she stepped off a plane at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Wednesday, authorities said.

Marielys Valencia Martinez is charged with grand theft of property worth more than $20,000 and was in the Broward County Jail Friday without bond on an immigration hold, records show.

Marielys Martinez

Broward Sheriff’s Office

Marielys Martinez

According to the arrest report, a Miramar man met Martinez online about a year ago. She flew into Miami for their first date in December.

When they went to a restaurant, he removed a bag of jewelry from his car and put it in his pocket. Martinez saw a diamond bracelet and two diamond rings in a clear plastic bag, asked about their value, and whether they were for sale, the report stated.

The man allowed her to wear the jewelry at a nightclub and then took her back to his place. She removed the jewelry and he put it in a box on a shelf in his home. She awoke before 5 a.m. Dec. 5 and asked him to drive her back to her hotel room, investigators said.

Martinez flew back to Colombia later that day. Two days later, she created an Instagram post and TikTok video showing off the jewelry, the report stated.

The man contacted her via WhatsApp requesting that she return the jewelry. Martinez said it would cost too much to mail it, so she would bring the jewelry back when she returned to South Florida in February, detectives said.

During their conversation Martinez wrote, “The jewels are here with me. I do not want to spend my money sending anything after being threatened by the police with jail and with my visa. Yes, until I enter the United States without any problems, I will not return anything.”

She sent a picture of the jewelry she had and continued, “It’s simple, here are the jewels. I want to return them. Why can’t you wait for me to return? What you [expletive] problem?” the report stated.

The victim told police he purchased the jewelry at auction for a total of $7,550. The appraised value of the jewelry was $32,245, he said.