Robert Wayne Erfurt

Robert Wayne Erfurt (Courtesy Laguna Beach Police Department / April 11, 2012)

A caretaker was arrested on suspicion of stealing $178,000 worth of a jewelry from a Laguna Beach home, according to police.

Robert Wayne Erfurt, 52, is suspected of felony grand theft and possession of a controlled substance, according to a news release from the Laguna Beach Police Department.

A homeowner in the 1300 block of Moorea Way filed a theft report April 2 after discovering $178,000 worth of jewelry missing from the home. The resident didn't immediately notice the theft and said it occurred between December 2011 and March 30.

The jewelry belonged to the homeowner's friend, who put it in the Moorea Way home for safekeeping while her San Diego house was being renovated. The friend noticed the jewelry was missing when she came to pick it up, according to the release.

Several people had access to the house, but Erfurt aroused suspicion when he left in a hurry during the initial police report.

Detectives went to his apartment in Orange to interview him, but the landlord informed them that he hadn't been there since April 2.

On Tuesday, detectives found Erfurt staying at a motel in Anaheim. Erfurt admitted to stealing the jewelry, the release said, and he retrieved it from a box that was hidden underneath his truck.

—Joanna Clay