Thursday, January 05, 2012

Facebook Post Helps Solve Diamond Ring Theft

Police in Burlington, Vt., were able to nab a diamond thief by way of ring photos posted to a Facebook account.

On Dec. 26, a young Caucasian male around 5’6” with light brown hair entered a Zales store at the Burlington Town Center to look at diamond engagement rings. Store employees noted that the man was about 20 to 25 years old, wearing a black fleece, sweatpants, and sneakers, and had a hickey on the left side of his neck. He looked at several rings for about an hour, then grabbed a 1.01 ct. diamond solitaire set in a four-prong 14k white gold mounting and ran out of the store with it, heading east towards the mall exit adjacent to the garage. The piece was valued at $3,199.

The following day, police received multiple anonymous tips that photos of a diamond ring matching the one described in local news reports had been posted on the Facebook page of Amber Lafountain, who turned out to be the girlfriend of 25-year-old Ryan Jarvis. Police also learned that on the evening of Dec. 26, Jarvis took Lafountain out to dinner, where he proposed. Friends of the couple saw Lafountain’s celebratory pictures posted on Facebook, and phoned the police when they recognized the ring from media reports.

Police went to the home of Lafountain on Dec. 27, where she told them that she thought Jarvis had purchased the ring, but turned it over to them for inspection. Police discovered that the serial number stamped on the diamond matched that of the stolen piece. Jarvis then exited the home, approached Burlington Police Officer Jesse Stewart, and admitted to the theft. Officer Stewart arrested Jarvis, who is charged with felony retail theft, a crime punishable by not more than 10 years in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Officer Stewart noted that Jarvis said he “selected a ring but knew that he could not afford it,” and though he considered financing options and knew it would be “a stupid thing to do,” he ultimately ran out of the store with it.

A Jewelers Security Alliance post noted that the store salesman was able to prevent a much larger theft by only showing one ring at a time, even though the suspect had originally asked for two.

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