YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: By secretly swapping a gold-testing solution, a Brooklyn man passed off fake jewelry as real in a scam that potentially could hve netted him and two accomplices more than $200,000, Teaneck police said.
William L. Thomas, 44, entered a Teaneck jewelry store last June asking about selling a gold ring, Acting Police Chief Robert Carney said this morning.
Surveillance video shows Thomas switching the jeweler’s gold-testing solution with a bottle of his own when the owner turned his back, the chief said. Moments later, an accomplice entered looking to sell a large amount of counterfeit gold.
“Luckily the owner realized that something was suspicious and didn’t make the sale,” Carney said.
Detective Sgt. Ken Egbert and Detective Ed Kazmierczak were waiting and arrested Thomas two weeks later when he showed up at Englewood Municipal Court for another matter.
During the arrest, they learned that Thomas drove to court in a rental car with a friend, Michael G. Russell, 57, of the Bronx, whom they arrested for carrying 46 Xanax, Carney said.
A search of Thomas’ car the next day turned up several pieces of counterfeit gold — all stamped with “14k” – as well as bottles of the bogus solution, the chief said. If sold as genuine, the gold would have fetched more than $200,000, he said.
Additional complaints were prepared against Thomas, who’d already been released from custody, and for Russell, who was being held in the Bergen County Jail, the chief said. An arrest warrant was then issued for Thomas.
Maple Shade Police “encountered” Thomas on April 26 and arrested him on the outstanding warrant, Carney said.
They did their own search of another rental car that Thomas had and discovered more bogus gold, he said.
Thomas is charged in Teaneck with two counts of theft by deception, criminal simulation and possession of a bogus driver’s license.
Russell is charged with conspiracy to commit theft by deception, criminal simulation, intending to distribute Xanas and doing so within 500 feet of public housing.
Meanwhile, Teaneck police are hoping someone can identify the suspected accomplice in the photo above. If so, call: (201) 837-2600.
ALL IMAGES: Courtesy TEANECK PD
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