Las Vegas police earlier this month recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry belonging to Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former U.S. senator from Colorado.
Police stumbled upon the stash of Native American-style bracelets while looking for 28-year-old Brett Clinton Combs, a New Mexico native residing in the southwest valley.
Authorities had received a tip that Combs was going to rob an armored car, but found him at his home, according to police Sgt. Mike Bechler.
When police arrived at the home on Jan. 8, they found $400,000 worth of jewelry, $25,000 in smoke-shop merchandise, several firearms and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, Bechler said.
Police later learned that 20 gold bracelets belonged to Campbell and had been stolen Nov. 17, when Combs is suspected of holding up Campbell’s Durango, Colo., jewelry gallery.
Durango police Det. Robert Brammer said Combs scoped out the gallery in the morning and held up an employee at gunpoint just before closing time. He made off with two cases of jewelry, Brammer said.
“This is very recognizable jewelry,” Brammer said. “It’s stamped with the senator’s name on it. Each one has a custom serial number that goes along with it.”
Authorities also suspect Combs is responsible for other robberies and burglaries in Colorado and New Mexico.
The ammunition and smoke- shop items are believed to be stolen.
According to the Rocky Mountain News, Campbell’s jewelry has been featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Combs is being held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.