Jewel Heist suspect Abigail Lee Kemp weeps in court - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jewel Heist suspect Abigail Lee Kemp weeps in court

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Abigail Lee Kemp Abigail Lee Kemp
(NBC) -

The suspect in a string of brazen jewel heists across the South wept on Monday as she was led out of court following her arraignment.

Abigail Lee Kemp, 24, maintained her composure for most of the brief hearing, but tears began to fall when U.S. marshals put handcuffs on her and ushered her out while friends and family watched in silence.

The ex-waitress is accused of sticking up six jewelry stores in five states since April that netted $4 million worth of bling.

The case attracted wide attention because the bandit was a woman so bold she didn't bother to wear a mask. And court documents released Monday show she didn't do much to cover her tracks, either.

Kemp used her own phone and a relative's car during the string of heists, and raised eyebrows by wearing fancy jewelry, according to an FBI affidavit.

The FBI used data from cell towers to identify Kemp, 24, as the bandit who waltzed unmasked into jewelry outlets in five states, whipped out a gun, herded workers into back rooms and emptied cases, an affidavit says.

A maroon Honda Civic registered to a member of Kemp's family was spotted on surveillance video from two robbery locations, the documents say. It appears that the suspect later had the car painted black, authorities said.

After the FBI put out surveillance video of the bandit coolly raiding the stores — sometimes with a male accomplice caught on camera, too — tipsters gave investigator's Kemp's name.

"Some citizens have further advised that during recent contacts with Kemp, she was wearing expensive jewelry that some of the callers believe she cannot afford," the affidavit said.

"Some citizens also advised that Kemp possesses a black handgun and recently had her car painted black."

Cameron Parker, who grew up with her in Cobb County, Ga., had not seen the surveillance footage and said he was shocked to hear she had been arrested for armed robberies.

"I thought, 'That's insane!' Because we're all from a small little suburban community. It's wild," he told NBC News.

He said he ran into Kemp a year ago when she was waitressing at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Kennesaw. "She seemed good," he said.

"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. 

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