A jewel thief swallowed the evidence. Now he's not going anywhere until he poops, cops say

Ryan A. Penman
Ryan A. Penman Lake County Jail

Police are searching for evidence in a very nontraditional place — an inmate's poop.

Jail guards are closely monitoring the toilet of a man who police say committed grand retail theft when he swallowed a pair of diamond earnings Thursday.

An arrest affidavit says Ryan A. Penman tried to use a fraudulent credit card but was quickly flagged by an Kay Jewelers employee because the name "didn't match him." When that didn't go as planned, Penman faked taking medication and instead gulped down two, 1/3 carat princess-cut diamond studs.

Employees said he did give back a pair of earrings — only they were fake.

"It is believed that one or both of the defendants swallowed the stolen earrings," the report said.

When police arrived, Penman, along with his girlfriend of four months, were questioned. The woman, who was not identified, began crying and complained of anxiety. The couple then requested medical attention. They were both transported to a nearby hospital.

Before consenting to an X-ray, the woman asked to use the restroom, where she was then heard throwing up.

"When she exited the restroom the female defendant flushed the toilet before I could observe what was in it," an officer wrote.

Her X-ray found no evidence of the jewels.

When police asked Penman to consent to an X-ray, he refused. He did ultimately agree to one in exchange for a sandwich, though, the Daily Commercial reported.

Alas, "the earrings were visible in the defendant's stomach," the officer wrote. Penman was charged with retail grand theft and tampering with evidence.

He was booked into Lake County Jail. Lake County Sheriff’s Office said the water from the toilet in his cell was turned off.

"So far there has been no recovery [of the jewelery]" said Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Fred Jones.

As of Saturday, finding the jewels however, wasn't a main priority.

"The X-rays were enough to charge him," Jones said. "Pun intended, our officers have to put up with a whole bunch of crap but watching for a bowel movement will not be one of those things."

As far as Penman's bond, the jail booking officer made something very clear: "Request no bond to allow evidence to vacate his bowels," the affidavit said.