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Phelan resident searching for her diamonds
Son stole jewelry, sold it to local stores
PHELAN • The very same day that one Phelan resident discovered she was the victim of jewelry theft, she watched deputies arrest their suspect. Locating the stolen diamonds, however, has proved much more difficult.
On Sept. 7, Phelan resident Joy Linehan discovered that her two investment-grade diamonds were missing from her home along with gold Krugerrands.
When her 31-year-old son, who was on drugs at the time, confessed to taking and selling the diamonds and Krugerrands, Linehan called 911. Victor Valley Station deputies responded to the residence and arrested Linehan’s son late that night, according to Staci Johnson, spokesperson for the Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station.
According to Linehan, her son confessed to selling the diamonds to Kevin Jewelers in Victorville, and a deputy told Linehan that he would visit the store the day after the arrest to inquire about the diamonds. However, more than a month went by before the deputy went to Kevin Jewelers, during which time Linehan called and visited the station repeatedly.
Victor Valley Station records show that the deputy visited Kevin Jewelers on Oct. 10. At that time, Kevin Jewelers no longer had any record of the diamonds, because a 30-day holding period was over, according to Linehan.
A deputy also visited Gold Max, where the cougarans had been sold, and was told that the Krugerrands had been melted, something Linehan said was unlikely as melting would make the gold coins less valuable.
“The police dropped the ball,” Linehan said. “My chance of recovery would have been so much greater if it had not been for the lack of timeliness and follow though.”
Johnson attributed the delay to the large number of crimes the Victor Valley station has to investigate every day.
“We went out there and made the arrest. We have a protocol that we have to follow,” Johnson said. “Our main concern is personal safety before property.”
Frustrated with the sheriff’s department, Linehan went to Kevin Jewelers herself and offered to pay the $2,200 that the store had paid her son in exchange for the diamonds — which were worth upwards of $18,000, she said. Representatives at the store told her they could not locate her diamonds or any of equivalent value.
On Dec. 3, Linehan decided to contact consumer advocate Michael Boguslawski, who agreed to help Linehan get to the bottom of the situation.
“In 50 years in this consumer business, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Boguslawski said. “Things weren’t done the way they should have been. One problem multiplied on another, and it just got out of hand.”
Boguslawski said he sees problems on many levels with the way the situation was handled, starting with the fact that Kevin Jewelers bought the diamonds from Linehan’s son. Kevin Jewelers did not return the Daily Press’ request for comment.
Planning to pursue the issue until it is resolved, Boguslawski has already sent out letters to various involved parties in California.
The theft occurred more than three months ago, and Linehan is still holding out hope of finding the diamonds she bought as an investment more than 30 years ago.
“If something happened, I could have sold those diamonds,” Linehan said. “I’m not one of those women who have a lot of fancy things, but I knew I had investment-grade diamonds.”
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