Alleged diamond swallower has yet to pass $20K gem

A man suspected of swallowing a $20,000 diamond May 10 at a jewelry store in Windsor, Ont., is getting all the food he wants at a detention centre to help him pass the 1.7-karat gem.

Man, 52, gets lots of food and laxatives in detention in Windsor, Ont., to aid bowel movement

Police and a Windsor, Ont., jeweller allege a man swallowed a diamond similar to this one on May 10. (CBC News)

A man suspected of swallowing a $20,000 diamond during a jewelry heist May 10 in Windsor, Ont., is getting all the food he wants at a detention centre to help him pass the 1.7-karat gem.

Normally, anyone held at the detention centre at Windsor police headquarters is given a burger — no cheese — and a juice box at every meal.

But the 52-year-old accused in the diamond-theft case is getting whatever he wants, including food from upscale La Guardia Italian restaurant, police said.

Until Wednesday, the suspect was held in a dry cell with no toilet and no sink.

"We've made arrangements in another cell to immobilize the toilet," Windsor Deputy Chief Jerome Brannigan said. "We provide a container when he feels it is going to be required. Subsequently it is removed and searched."

A doctor told CBC News it usually takes a few days for something ingested to pass through the human body.

Breakfast, for example, can be expected to pass within two or three days.

But some factors could change that natural, regular process.

Doctor not worried

The fact that the suspect still hasn't produced the gem after nearly a week doesn't raise any red flags for emergency room doctor Sophia Thomas.

"It's kind of individual," she said. "But I would think because the person is incarcerated, they may not be taking in their usual diet and fluid intake so that might be contributing to it too."

Police said the man has undergone X-rays, which show what they allege are two cubic zirconia, but don't definitively show a diamond inside.

Dan Thomas says security video shows the suspect swallowing the missing diamond. (CBC News)

The man is said to have used sleight of hand to switch the diamond with a fake at Precision Jewellers. He allegedly swallowed it when police arrived at the store.

Store own Dan Thomas said surveillance video shows the man swallow the gem.

Accused on laxatives

So-called professional regurgitator Stevie Starr, who was a hit on Britain's Got Talent, has some experience swallowing diamond rings and other items.

He said with proper training, anyone can swallow something and keep it down for weeks. 

"I've been doing it since I was four years old," Starr said. "I have control of my entire body, every  muscle in my body."

Windsor police doubt the suspect has that much muscle control. 

They said he is co-operating and voluntarily taking laxatives. 

"We're doing everything we can. Sooner or later it's going to be over," Brannigan said. "I just don't know when."

The deputy chief they have enough evidence to keep him in custody.

He has been charged with theft over $5,000 and breach of probation.