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Diamond Thief Sentenced to 32 Years

MANHATTAN (CN) - A man who led a robbery and extortion crew that targeted Manhattan's Diamond District was sentenced to 32 years in federal prison. A jury convicted Hector Rivera in December 2009 of four counts of robbery and use of a firearm.

Rivera's crew stole millions of dollars worth of diamonds from 2003 to 2009, prosecutors said. While robbing a Fifth Avenue diamond business in 2005, his crew dressed as Federal Express deliverymen and tied up store workers while stealing millions of dollars in diamonds and other merchandise.

In 2007, the crew kidnapped a FedEx driver at gunpoint and held him for 4 hours while they tried to unload the contents of a truck. They released the driver when they gave up on the truck and abandoned it.

Rivera planned to hijack a second truck in 2008, but prosecutors say they arrested him and a dozen of his crew members before they could carry out the plan.

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