By Mary Robb Jackson

NORTH STRABANE (KDKA) — A local man is accused of stealing his mother’s diamond rings and swallowing them.

Robert Spriggs is charged with theft, receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence. He admits he took the jewelry, but police will have to be patient recovering it.

Spriggs now sits in a cell in the Washington County Correctional Facility with a non-flushable toilet.

“He immediately became a suspect,” says Det. Lt. Dan Levi of the North Strabane Police Department.

The 53-year-old Spriggs didn’t visit his mother much, according to police.

“Not a very good relationship with his mom,” Levi said.

But Spriggs did go to his mother’s home last Saturday – the day her diamond rings disappeared.

Picked up at his house in Washington, Spriggs was brought to the North Strabane police station. Officers started patting him down.

“He suddenly became ill,” Levi said. “He stood up, bent down at the waist, placed his hands in his pockets and then placed something in his mouth and swallowed them.”

Officers checked his mouth.

“Immediately the officers knew that they had to be the rings,” Levi said.

Taken by ambulance to Canonsburg Hospital, Spriggs refused to be X-rayed. He was arrested and placed in a dry holding cell at the jail.

“With the hopes of getting them back naturally which we did,” Levi said. “So far we got three rings back.”

Two of the three diamond rings have an estimated worth of $60,000, but that may not be the end of it.

“The sister, who also lives in the residence, claims she has two tennis bracelets missing,” Levi said.

Spriggs has a criminal history going back at least 25 years for various drug charges.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Get The All New CBS Local App
KDKA Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE