Zales employee allegedly swipes more than $70K in jewelry, sells at pawn shops

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 2:04 PM

BAYTOWN, Texas – A Zales employee stole more than $70,000 worth of jewelry and pawned it for the cash, according to Baytown police.

Rhonda Jamell Clay was charged with aggregate theft. Clay committed the thefts from June 24, 2013 up until February 18, 2014, according to court documents.

An internal audit revealed the Zales store located in San Jacinto Mall was missing $72,000 in jewelry. Investigators searched a list of employees through online leads and learned that, during the time in question, Clay had over 20 transactions at nine different pawnshops throughout Houston and Baytown, selling jewelry each time.

Investigators retrieved the merchandise from the pawn shops and confirmed they belonged to Zales. Eighteen pieces of jewelry that included rings, necklaces with charms and earrings were recovered, totaling just under $18,000.

Eight more pieces of jewelry could not be recovered because they had either been sold or melted, but were linked to Clay as the seller.

Investigators also obtained surveillance video from three different pawn shops, showing Clay making various transactions.

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