Thursday, March 27, 2008

Arrest Has A Ring To It

A woman whose engagement ring and wedding band were stolen while she was on vacation in Everglades City made an unexpected side trip to a local pawn shop, where deputies found her jewelry.

Deputies arrested Samantha Smith, 21, 1 Plantation Drive, Everglades City, on Wednesday and charged her with grand theft and dealing in stolen property in connection with the theft.

Marla Mason reported her wallet stolen while she was on vacation in Everglades City on March 12. Her engagement ring and wedding band, along with her credit cards, were inside the wallet.

An investigation found her credit cards had been used at the Circle K store at 603 Collier Ave., in Everglades City. A store clerk recognized Smith as the person using the credit cards to make purchases in store surveillance video. The signatures on the credit card receipts did not match Mason’s signature.

Further investigation revealed Mason’s wedding and engagement rings were pawned at First Pawn Jewelry and Loan, 889 Airport-Pulling Road, East Naples, the same day she reported them stolen. Pawn shop receipts show Smith pawned the rings, investigators said. Mason went to the pawn shop, where she identified the rings as hers.

Circle K employees identified Smith from a photo lineup as the woman who made the transactions on Mason’s credit cards.

Smith was also charged with fraudulent use of credit cards and forgery.