Police: South Seattle Store Bought "Stolen" Jewelry From Undercover Cops

By Josh Feit September 6, 2011

Seattle police are investigating a South Seattle jewelry store after an employee at the shop purchased thousands of dollars worth of supposedly stolen jewelry from undercover detectives.

An SPD search warrant says "over the past several months, members of the South [Precinct] Anti-Crime Team have been told by several concerned citizens that employees...will purchase jewelry stolen in burglaries and street robberies from anyone who walks in off the street."

The warrant says the store "has repeatedly been involved in the purchase of stolen jewelry and other retail violations."

We're not naming the business as it appears no one has yet been charged in the case.

On August 8th, a detective from SPD's Major Crimes Task Force—which recently busted a a half-dozen businesses for buying $750,ooo worth of stolen champagne, shampoo, and Spam—took a $750 gold and jade pendant and a $160 gold ring to the store, on Martin Luther King Jr Way S,  and told an employee "I just stole these out of a car and I need some money," police records say.

The employee allegedly gave the undercover detective $113 for the ring and pendant, which was not in fact stolen, but borrowed from a South Seattle pawn shop during the investigation.

Strangely, records say the employee also asked the detective for his ID and asked him to sign a sale form. The detective gave the employee a fake ID.

Over the next three weeks, undercover detectives sold $2,200 worth of gold rings, pendants and chains to the store.

On several occasions, police records say, a detective told employees he had stolen the jewelry out of cars. The detective also told an employee his girlfriend worked in Fred Meyer's jewelry department and could "go in there and just kinda, you know, steal this shit late at night."

While an employee agreed to buy "up to $5,000" worth of jewelry from the detective, he also said he would have to report the purchase.

At one point in the investigation, one detective somehow made it onto the store's "No Buy List," and SPD had to bring in a second undercover detective to sell jewelry to the store.

Police obtained a warrant on September 2nd. It doesn't appear any of the employees were arrested or charged. However, stolen property cases tend to move at glacial speed. We're checking with SPD and the prosecutor's office to find out if and when charges might be filed.
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