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Yelm jewelry store owner flips the script on diamond ring thief

After the diamond heist hit a road block, the shop owner says he found out the robber's weapon wasn't what he thought.

YELM, Wash. — Inside Farwell's Fine Jewelry in the back office is where store owner Tony Farwell has been studying the surveillance. He's watched the grainy video of the attempted robbery at his Yelm business from several angles.

Farwell says a thief posed as a customer and grabbed an expensive ring. But Farwell took a dangerous risk, determined to thwart the diamond heist.

On Wednesday around 3 p.m., police were called to the store, located in the 1200 block of Yelm Avenue East.

Farwell says it all started when a man casually walked to the counter, and requested to see a diamond ring.

"I showed it to him. He grabs it and pulls it in and decides to take off out the door," said Farwell.

Farwell followed right behind him down the sidewalk.

"He goes, 'I have a gun,' and he decides to pull his gun out," Farwell said. "Originally, I wasn't going to pull my gun. There was no reason. But when he pulled his it was like, I have to now defend myself." 

Farwell says the man never pointed the gun at him.

As they were running, the man fell, according to Farwell, who managed to pin him to the ground with help from a passerby.

"Will was his name. A super nice guy. Pounced on him, and that was it," Farwell said.

After the diamond heist hit a road block, Farwell says he found out the man's weapon wasn't what he thought.

"We grabbed the gun, and that's when we realized it was a BB gun," he said. "What I thought was 'in fear for my life' ends up that it really wasn't, but at that moment I could of took his life." 

Instead, the sparkling diamond is back in its case, and the man who allegedly tried to make off with it was hauled to jail.

"He's stealing, and that's against the law. That's wrong. Sure, I could have said let it go, but this is my store," said Farwell. "Business owners need to be on their toes this time of year." 

When Yelm police arrived on Wednesday, they say they found the suspect detained by Farwell in the parking lot. 

The suspect was booked into the Thurston County Jail for robbery.