According to AFP, Australian police said Friday (February 21) that they had arrested and X-rayed a Matthew Osborne, 29, over the theft of a pink diamond worth more than A$200,000 (US$180,000), with fears he may have swallowed the rare jewel.
Matthew Osborne was arrested as he attempted to board an international flight in Melbourne for Auckland.
The stolen precious gem is still missing. Consequently, Australian authorities have requested that Osborne be x-rayed to determine if he is still in possession of the gem.
The pink diamond, from Rio Tinto's exclusive Argyle mine and valued at more than $200,000, was stolen Saturday (February 15) from a jewelry store at Cairns.
COMMENT: Store owner Keith Bird told police the brash offender plucked the diamond from his hands after asking for a closer look.
Using his fingerprints and CCTV images, police tracked the suspect to Melbourne where he was arrested Thursday trying to board a flight for New Zealand, senior sergeant Greg Giles told reporters.
The man was put through an x-ray machine to determine whether he had ingested the diamond.
Rio produces more than 90% of the world's pink diamonds from the Argyle mine, where high quality jewels can fetch in excess of US$1 million per carat.
Soaring demand has seen pink diamond prices skyrocket in the past 20 years, with especially keen buyers Japan and India.
It is not known how the diamonds acquire their pink tinge but it is thought to come from a molecular structure distortion as the jewel forms in the earth's crust or ascends to the surface.