Ojai man foils jewel heist
by Lenny Roberts
Some people have a knack for being where the action is. Dwayne
Hall, longtime Ojai resident known affectionately as "Long
Ball" to his golf buddies, was the man of the hour Sept.
22 while vacationing in Anchorage with his family. Hall, 54,
was credited with recovering $33,000 in jewelry allegedly stolen
from Captain Cook Fine Jewelry when he chased down a suspected
Hall, a carpenter working for Santa Monica-based Morley Builders,
has jumped in to offer help at more than a couple of traffic
collisions, providing immediate aid to seriously injured victims
awaiting medical help. But this time, his persistence after others
had given up the search resulted in the recovery of an uninsured
antique ring on consignment and a pair of Love diamonds from
Marina and Douglas Lamkin's jewelry store located on the ground
floor of the downtown Anchorage Hotel Captain Cook.
Hall's wife of 28 years, Beth, said, "It's just Dwayne.
My hero? Of course. He always has been. If he sees something
bad, his first reaction is just to help out. I knew he'd be OK."
The incident began after a man entered Lamkin's jewelry store
and snatched the jewels.
As Lamkin screamed, "Stop him, he's got my jewelry,"
Hall was strolling the streets with his wife, her stepmother,
Mary Nance, and her sister, Paula Nance. Paula Nance's son, Steven
Contois, had left the group to purchase a lighter for his roommate.
"At first, I didn't see him, but then I saw a guy running
and another guy in a red T-shirt chasing him. That's when I started
chasing him. The crook made a left turn and the Canadian man
confronted him," Hall said.
The unidentified Canadian, wearing the red T-shirt, grabbed the
suspect's ankle as he attempted to flee, bringing him to the
ground as the hotel's concierge joined the melee.
"The concierge jumps on his back and I'm on top," Hall
recalled. "I saw a knife on the ground and reached down
to get it, but the crook got it and started swinging it."
That's when the diamonds flew into the street. At some point
during the scuffle, the Canadian man was hit in the ear with
the butt of the knife as it was being brandished, and the back
of his shirt was slashed. The suspect got up and the chase was
"The concierge and the Canadian went to the right, and I
saw the guy get into a light-colored Ford Fairmont. It took off,
and I watched it go down the street," Hall said, adding
that he looked down and saw a diamond and found the ring under
a nearby bench.
"Everyone looked for about 15 minutes for the other diamond
and then left, but I kept on looking," he said. "I
walked back toward the police car and in a groove in the crosswalk
I saw a little flash of blue light. 'We've got a winner,' I said."
Hall gave the first diamond and the ring to a police officer
and returned the second diamond to a grateful Marina Lamkin.
After a couple of calming Canadian Clubs in the hotel bar, paid
for by the concierge, Hall was asked to return to the jewelry
store where the Lamkins bought dinner for his seven-member family
at the elite Simon & Seaforts Restaurant.
While in the store, Beth Hall saw something she liked, and received
a 30-percent discount on an expensive ring as Hall inquired about
a small charm called a moose gooser made out of a gold nugget.
The inch-long item depicts a moose being rear-ended by a locomotive.
When informed that it was valued at $390, Hall's interest turned
to paying for his wife's ring.
As they were leaving the store, Lamkin placed the moose gooser
in a bag and presented it to Hall. The little trinket of gratitude
had instantly become a lifelong memory.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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HUSBAND DWAYNE her hero, Beth Hall vividly remembers their Alaskan
encounter with jewel thieves.