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Michigan man pleads guilty in jewelry theft case

A man from Fruitland Township, Michigan, will spend 30 days in jail and then serve two years' probation after pleading guilty to receiving and concealing stolen property. A judge dismissed another charge, larceny from a building, when the man entered his guilty plea.

Police and prosecutors pursued the charges after the theft of about $100,000 of bracelets, rings, necklaces and other pricey merchandise from three Michigan homes was reported. Police recovered most of the jewelry.

The man's co-defendant, a 35-year-old North Muskegon woman, is due in court Jan. 10 for trial. She faces charges of receiving and concealing stolen property worth between $1,000 and $20,000 as well as larceny from a building.

Police said they identified the accused after a gold-recycling business notified them. The recycler had received a list of stolen jewelry from the apparent victims, and when checking their references, the staff members at the gold company realized they had bought some of the items.

After police got word, they were able to link the two people to the three homes where the jewelry disappeared. Investigators learned that the duo had family connections to the homes where the jewelry was stolen. Police claim the crimes were committed so that the pair could use the money to buy drugs.

In this case, the recovery of the jewelry and the man's guilty plea likely led to a shorter sentence than the man otherwise might have been given. The woman in this case will face a jury next month. Prosecutors will be required to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order for them to secure a conviction.

Source: MLive.com, "Fruitland Township man, 46, sentenced to jail for role in North Muskegon jewel heists," John S. Hausman, Dec. 3, 2012

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