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Store vs. store over stolen loot - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Store vs. store over stolen loot

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"We certainly have lots of beautiful merchandise still here to sell," said Tania Azar of Tick Tock Jewelers.

At Tick Tock Jewelers in downtown Burlington, the critical holiday shopping season is off to a rough start.

"It's sort of bah humbug a little bit," Azar said.

Sales are strong, but staff morale took a hit when the team discovered dozens of pieces of brand new jewelry stolen from the safe.

"Big loss and it's a big loss that insurance is not going to cover," Azar said.

Police say former employee Erin Thomson stole $30,000 worth of new jewelry, mostly men's wedding bands.

"Unfortunately this is a great example of how vicious and devastating the drug trade is in this state and how many people it effects," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan said.

Thomson told police she swiped the goods to help her boyfriend, Theodore Lipson, pay a drug debt. Police say he sold many of the items to two area secondhand dealers: Vermont Coin and Jewelry, and Yin's Collectibles in South Burlington.

"The more places that are willing to fence these stolen items the more this is going to continue," Azar said.

The folks at Tick Tock are not happy with their former employee, but they're equally mad about the secondhand dealers.

"You know, really? Did they really believe this stuff was legit? I don't care what kind of paperwork they sign, it just, it stinks," Azar said.

"I cannot be a detective," said Yin Xie of Yin's Collectibles.

Yin Xie says he follows the rules, getting an ID and images of the items he buys. Police say Lipson sold some of the stolen items there six times this fall.

Reporter Kristin Kelly: So, you didn't notice that the rings were new?

Yin Xie: The ring, it definitely looks new, yes. But like I say, you can question them as much as you want, but they can make up a story.

He says Lipson told him he inherited the items from relatives who owned a jewelry store in New York. And he says he asked police if the items were stolen, but they hadn't been reported yet, so he bought them.

Kristin Kelly: But it didn't raise any red flags that he was in here six times in just a matter of weeks?

Yin Xie: That's questionable; that's why I asked the police.

Investigators don't remember hearing from him about the items.

Police and prosecutors are pushing for tougher laws for second-hand dealers and say requiring them to hold merchandise for 30 days before reselling could help prevent this problem.

It's a fight Tick Tock says it's joining.

"You know, 67 years in business, we will continue to go and be at the forefront of maybe helping not have this happen to someone else," Azar said.

Erin Thompson faces multiple charges for the alleged theft. She pleaded not guilty. Her boyfriend, Theodore Lipson, faces a single charge of possession of stolen property, which he also denied.

Related Story:

Efforts to clamp down on 2nd hand jewelry dealers

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