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The FBI on Friday arrested a woman believed to have robbed at least six jewelry stores in the southeast during an eight-month crime spree, the agency announced Saturday.
Abigail Lee Kemp, 24, and another suspect were arrested in Smyrna, Georgia, and investigators believe Kemp is the brunette woman who allegedly robbed jewelry stores in five states since April 29, the FBI said.
"Within hours of issuing a press release this week requesting assistance in identifying the suspects, the FBI Jacksonville Division began to receive numerous credible leads from the public," the FBI said in a statement.
The FBI would not release details of the circumstances of the arrest or the identity of the second suspect taken into custody, citing the ongoing investigation.
The most recent heist was Monday at a Jared Vault in Mebane, North Carolina, the FBI said. Kemp allegedly forced two workers into a back room at gunpoint, zip-tied their hands and then piled jewelry from the cases into a shopping bag.
A friend of Kemp's who grew up with her was shocked by the arrest.
"I thought, 'That's insane!' Because we're all from a small little suburban community. It's wild," said the friend, who identified himself as Cameron but did not want his last name used.
He said he ran into Kemp in the last year; she was waitressing at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Kennesaw. "She seemed good," he said.
He said that growing up in Cobb County, Georgia, Kemp was a social butterfly.
"She's real chill. She's hilarious. She's the life of the party. I'm not saying she's a party girl, but she's always cracking jokes. She's very fun, very social. She's one of the homies," he said.
More than $4 million in jewelry was stolen in the spree, the Jewelers' Security Alliance estimated. Stores were struck in Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, the FBI said.
The suspect — who had been described as white, in her 20s or 30s, 5-foot-8 and 130 pounds — wore gloves but no mask and made little apparent attempt to disguise her identity during the stickups recorded by surveillance cameras. In three of the robberies, a male suspect is seen in surveillance video.
Kemp is expected to make her first court appearance in Atlanta on Monday, said Amanda Warford Videll, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Jacksonville office. Charges are pending, she said.
The FBI thanked those who called in with information. "You are one of the most valuable resources law enforcement has in fighting crime and we appreciate your efforts," the FBI said of the tipsters.
Warford Videll said investigators are still interested in any information from the public about the suspects or the robberies.