TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Toms River woman apparently was victimized twice after a thief stole her double-diamond ring and then the operators of a pawn shop allegedly swapped out the jewels for fakes.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the saga began for 80-year-old June Larsen when her home was broken into in April. Antiques, money and jewelry worth $22,000 were stolen.
One of the pieces of jewelry that went missing was Larsen’s double-diamond, platinum cocktail ring, Toms River police Det. Roger Hull said.
It turns out the ring was pawned at a nearby shop, which, like all such stores, must submit to police photos of each item it buys and a photo ID of the seller, Slattery reported. Police arrested the suspected thief who sold it — Juan Morales, 24.
But before the ring was returned to Larsen, the owner of the pawn shop and her nephew allegedly switched the two diamonds for fakes.
After the ring was returned to her, Larsen took it to a jeweler.
“Once it was cleaned up, I knew it wasn’t my diamond ring because one was smaller than the other,” Larsen said.
“My ring had cubic zirconia,” she added. ” … The diamonds were gone.”
Police arrested the pawn shop owner and her nephew for theft. They have been released on bail, Slattery reported. The shop was closed Thursday.
“They had to know they made a stupid mistake,” Larsen said. “I’m not a stupid person. If you have something valuable, you know what it looks like.”
Larsen said she also got back her late husband’s ring, but a pearl necklance and a dollar bill her great grandfather gave her on her first birthday in 1934 are still missing.
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