The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

January 22, 2010

Joplin jewelers thwart suspected ring thieves

By Jeff Lehr

jlehr@joplinglobe.com

A Joplin woman got her stolen ring back Thursday when a suspected thief literally coughed it up in front of police.

The ring belonging to Rebecca Moore was inside her purse in a vehicle parked at Northpark Mall when someone broke into the vehicle and stole the purse about noon Thursday. Her husband, Tom Moore, said the two-carat diamond ring — worth about $20,000 — was a family heirloom passed down to his wife from her mother.

“It meant the world to her,” he said.

Moore had just picked the ring back up from Comeau Jewelry store, where she’d had some repair work performed. She drove to the mall lot and parked, leaving her purse in the car while she went inside the mall. She discovered the theft when she came back out, and police were notified at 12:34 p.m.

Less than four hours later, a man and a woman walked into Newton’s Jewelry in downtown Joplin with a ring they wished to have appraised.

Store owner L.T. “Bunny” Newton recognized the ring right away from a picture Comeau’s sent to local jewelers in the wake of the theft. Newton said the diamond was distinctively set between two sapphires and was “easy” to spot.

“So we stalled, and kept weighing and measuring it,” he said.

Newton said the young couple represented the ring as having been her grandmother’s. The man told the jeweler they might be interested in selling it.

The business in the meantime had contacted police. Newton said he suggested that the store might need to steam clean the piece to appraise it properly, as a way of further stalling the couple. About 15 minutes had passed since they first came in.

“He got kind of antsy then,” Newton said. “You could tell he suspected something was going on.”

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