Serial jewelry thief targets South Sound

by: Richard Thompson Updated:

PIERCE, THURSTON COUNTIES -  A convincing story about honoring a dead grandmother and quick feet have helped a jewelry thief get away with thousands of dollars in rings from Olympia to Tacoma.

It was mid-April when a man strolled into Tony's Master Jewelers in Lacey. The man told jewelers his grandmother had recently passed away and left him an inheritance. The suspected thief said he wanted to buy a ring to remember his grandmother.

"He looked for something rather nice," said Kris Taylor, owner of Tony's Master Jewelers. 

Store employee Tucker Rzepecki said the man had a very distinctive facial tick.

 "He had this facial tick where he curled up his lip and sort of winked every now and then when he was talking," said Rzepecki.

 The man finally asked to see a $3,000 ring and when he got it in his hands he bolted from the store.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News obtained surveillance video showing the same suspect targeting a jewelry store at the Lacey Fred Meyer and a Zales jewelry store in Olympia, all within a four-day period.

Lacey police Lt. Phil Comstock tells KIRO-7 it appears the same suspect has also hit at least two stores in Pierce County. There are good images of him and now police need the public's help.

"We need the name to connect with that face," said Comstock.

Victims say these are lean times for jewelers and they hope someone turns the thief in before he strikes again.

"These are tough times for everybody and when they come in and just take it from you, it's pretty tough," said Taylor.