Police have recovered a precious gem stolen from a downtown Burlington shop.
Police say Steven Ploof, 26, entered a Burlington jewelry store early Tuesday evening, pretending he was serious about proposing to someone he loved.
"He was shopping for an engagement ring. He looked at a series of stones, selected a stone, and was in negotiations with the store clerk," explained Lt. Shawn Burke of the Burlington Police Department.
But then police say he left Designers' Circle, allegedly saying he needed to go to a bank before signing on the dotted line. Only police say he took a diamond worth more than $2,500 with him.
"Another store clerk was able to keep eyes on Mr. Ploof on Church Street where our officers were able to catch up with him," Burke explained.
At first, he said, Ploof gave a fake name and denied knowing anything about a stolen diamond.
"And then under questioning he eventually turned over the diamond and provided his real name."
Police say that's when Ploof lead them to Speeder and Earl's Coffee Shop on Church Street, where, unbeknownst to employees, he had hidden the diamond inside.
Police say Ploof never had plans to propose to anyone. He did not provide a motive for stealing the stone. He is facing charges of grand larceny.
"Certainly great work by the store and swift response and great police work by this agency," said Burke.
This isn't Ploof's first brush with the law. Earlier this year he was arrested for retail theft in Williston and on another occasion for assaulting a police officer. He was also arrested in 2012 accused of stealing cash from lockers at a sports complex in St. Albans.
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