Yeonjong Ryu had a feeling cops were on his trail after he took a safe filled with almost $100,000 worth of jewels, cash and other valuables from an acquaintance in Naugatuck, police said.
So the 36-year-old Ryu called the acquaintance from Los Angeles and promised to return the items, saying he feared police would soon catch him and possibly have him deported, said Naugatuck Lt. Bryan Cammarata.
“A couple weeks later, the woman received a package from Los Angeles,” Cammarata said.
The problem was, the package was not filled with all of the items the man is accused of stealing, he said. And now, Ryu is facing charges of third-degree burglary, first-degree larceny and possible issues with immigration enforcement agents.
Ryu, who told his friend he was worried about police turning him in to federal immigration officers because he was here illegally, is being held in a New Haven jail on an $85,000 bond while federal investigators look into his citizenship status, Cammarata said.
Ryu is accused of breaking into the acquaintance’s house in late August or early September while she was on vacation. Ryu is accused of stealing a small safe filled with $90,000 worth of diamonds and other jewels, plus $8,000 worth of cash, Cammarata said.
There were also credit cards, a Rolex watch, rings and others items in the box, he said. Not all of it was returned.
Ryu, however, claimed that he returned everything. So, when the woman received the package, she called police and opened it for the first time in front of them, Cammarata said. Police noticed that the box was slightly lighter than the weight indicated on the outside of the package. Police then contacted postal workers, who have launched an investigation, he said. That has not been completed.
Ryu was caught in New York last week when he tried to fly into New York City. Someone noticed that Naugatuck police had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and the Bronx, N.Y., Police Department picked him up, Cammarata said.
Ryu’s next court date is Jan. 25 in Waterbury.