WhatsApp Chat Busts Miami-Dade Detective Who Stole $100,000 Worth of Jewelry

A Rolex Daytona watch and a Cartier "Nail" bracelet similar to those involved in the incident.
A Rolex Daytona watch and a Cartier "Nail" bracelet similar to those involved in the incident.
Photos courtesy of Rolex And Cartier

Miami-Dade Police Det. Karel Rosario has the taste in jewelry of a rich housewife and the ethics of a common crook. Rosario, a nine-year veteran, faces two felony charges after he allegedly stole $100,000 worth of pricey timepieces and jewelry by the likes of Bulgari, Cartier, and Rolex during a raid and then tried to resell them. How did he get caught? Through a private WhatsApp chat among Miami jewelry dealers. 

On May 20, police raided the home of Yulia Martinez. The 31-year-old was caught up in a sweep targeting a ring that allegedly bought prescription drugs from customers and then sold them back to drug distributors. 

Martinez was taken into federal custody but later bonded out of jail. When she returned home, she noticed a lot of her jewelry was missing. Those items included a Cartier watch with a custom diamond bezel, a Rolex Daytona watch, a Cartier-style "Nail" bracelet, another gold bracelet with diamonds, a Bulgari ring and bracelet, a David Yurman bracelet, and several bottles of designer perfume. 

Law enforcement officers are supposed to leave receipts for any seized property, but none was left for the jewelry. 

Meanwhile, a week after the raid, Detective Rosario went to jeweler Joel Hernandez at the Seybold Jewelry Building in downtown Miami to try to sell the Cartier pieces, but Hernandez wasn't interested. It turns out, however, the Miami jewelry trade is social-media-savvy, and Hernandez posted pictures of the pieces in a WhatsApp group chat with other jewelry dealers to see if anyone else was interested. WhatsApp is a popular text-message-alternative app for smartphones. 

Joel Vigo, who was on the chat, happened to be the jeweler who sold the pieces to Martinez in the first place. He contacted Martinez, who in turn contacted her lawyer, who tipped off the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. This led to an investigation that ended with Rosario's arrest. 

The detective faces charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Both are second-degree misdemeanors.


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