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Mom, 66, arrested for helping son in alleged jewelry heist scheme

Posted at 5:24 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 19:05:15-05

Police say jail phone calls made between a West Palm Beach woman and her incarcerated son led to her arrest for the same crime her son is accused of committing.

Delia Torres, 66, is suspected of helping her son and a friend trick and steal jewelry worth $30,000 from a man in April. 

Torres and her friend, Carmen Pena, initially told officers they were going to buy the jewelry from a seller they knew from church.

They met near the 1300 block of Palm Beach Lakes Blvd on April 21 but said that during the transaction a fourth person came out from the bushes and pointed a gun at the seller's head, according to an arrest report.

Pena was “visibly distraught and emotional” when describing the incident to officers at the scene, the report states. Torres “appeared to be unemotional and distant regarding the incident,” a detective wrote in the report.

Investigators say the purchase was a setup. 

When questioned by police the victim said he recognized the robber's voice as Torres's son Eliuds Valdez even though he was wearing a disguise.

West Palm Beach Police officers arrested Valdez for pistol-whipping and stealing jewelry from the victim. 

A week later, officers arrested Pena after they say she pawned the stolen jewelry. Torres was not arrested at that time, however.

While in the Palm Beach County Jail, Pena and Valdez made over 160 phone calls from behind bars, including several to Torres.

Investigators listened and translated several of the calls made in Spanish and determined Torres was involved in the robbery, the report states.

In those jail calls, records show Valdez asked his mother to destroy the gun used in the crime and Pena told Torres where some leftover stolen jewels were.

Seven months later, West Palm Beach police detectives arrested Torres for the incident. Torres was booked into jail on Dec. 12 and is being held on $70,000 bond. 

State records indicate Valdez is a registered sex offender.