King of Diamonds Focus of Historic Society Program

Award-winning journalist and SMU professor Rena Pederson told the story of the famed King of Diamonds during a recent Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society program.

The famed jewel thief plagued the Park Cities and Preston Hollow neighborhoods as well as parts of Fort Worth between 1958 until 1970, Pederson said. The FBI and Dallas Police Department pursued him for more than a decade, but none of the jewels were ever recovered.

Pederson said the thief knew when the exclusive parties would be, who was going, what they would wear and other details only someone who traveled in elite circles at the time would know.

“He climbed up trees and ran across (roofs), he came into their bedrooms while they were sleeping, he came into their homes while they were downstairs entertaining, while they were watching TV, he slipped in, he got their jewels and he slipped right back out,” she said. “Scotland Yard was looking for him, the FBI was looking for him, all the local police.”

Her investigation into the King is the focus of her book The Search for the Infamous King of Diamonds.

Pederson said she’s pretty sure she was able to narrow the suspects down to one who fits the profile perfectly.

Debbie and Frank Branson hosted the program in high style Oct. 29.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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