Man and woman steal $21,400 of jewelry from Auburn store, owner says

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Although police initially believed a couple stole about $17,000 worth of jewelry from a Downtown Auburn store Thursday evening, the owner is now saying the amount is up to $21,400. According to Margareta Swann, owner of Golden Swann Jewelers on Lincoln Way, the man and woman first entered the store in the mid-afternoon. “They came in twice,” Swann said. “They came in just a little after 2 p.m. They came in with a whole group of customers who were visiting because they had out-of-town people (with them), and (the man and woman) wanted to try on a diverse selection of expensive jewelry.” The couple was not part of the group of known customers, Swann said. Swann said she recognized the language the two were speaking. “The language they were speaking was gypsy,” she said. “(It’s called) Romany.” The couple returned to the store around 3:15 p.m. and was there until about 5:15 p.m., Swann said. Swann said an employee left the key to one of the jewelry cases in its lock and the man took the jewelry out of the case and the woman put it in her purse. “Some of the jewelry she put on we put in that case for safe keeping and forgot to pull the key,” Swann said. Swann said the two left the store before she noticed the jewelry was gone. “They said, ‘We are coming back tomorrow, because’ they said, ‘we need to shop some more and it’s late,’ and they took off,” Swann said. Swann said she then noticed the display case was empty. The stolen items included a $17,200 diamond necklace and $4,200 pair of diamond earrings. According to Auburn Police Detective Adam Cline, the man is white and in his 40s. He is 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He has gray hair. He was last seen wearing a long-sleeve orange T-shirt, blue jeans and black baseball cap. He has a scar over his left eye. Cline said the woman is white and in her 40s. She is 5-feet-7-inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. She was last seen wearing a gray sweater over a white blouse, black slacks and was carrying a large handbag. Cline said several fingerprints were removed from the scene. Cline said this is the only burglary of this type recently. “It usually comes in waves, too,” Cline said. “We haven’t had one like this in awhile. We had Roper’s Jewelers before where people come in and use fake credit cards, but nothing like this.” Cline said there is video surveillance of the burglary. Harvey Roper, owner of Roper’s Jewelers, said there are several ways for a jewelry store to prevent theft, including security systems. “That is why you keep track of how many pieces you bring out on the counter,” Roper said. “We try to bring out one at a time, maximum of three. You want to keep tabs on them. We always have another employee if possible observing from a distance.” Roper said it’s important to network with fellow jewelry stores to keep theft down, and Swann called him Friday morning to tell him about the burglary. Keeping cases locked at all times as well as keeping an eye out for people that just don’t look right is also important, Roper said. Roper said thieves often try to separate employees and take them away from the sales floor. “They use a multitude of distraction techniques, so there is only one pair of eyes out there,” he said. Roper said he thought the burglary was really sad. “It takes a lot to make up for that,” he said. “It’s, ‘thank you,’ (we are) grateful that (Swann) called right away. The first thing I did was notify my employees at both store locations. It kind of heightens your awareness that something like that can happen in our town.” Reach Bridget Jones at