SAN MATEO -- A Palo Alto woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of stealing diamonds from a San Mateo jewelry store by replacing the valuable jewels with cubic zirconia.
Angela Walker, 45, was booked on commercial burglary charges after authorities lured her back to Galati Jewelers, where she stole a ring and a loose diamond, San Mateo police spokesman David Norris said. Detectives believe she may have burglarized other jewelers in similar fashion, based on evidence found in her home after her arrest.
About 2 p.m. on March 27, Walker reportedly walked into the store at 35 E. Fourth Ave. and acted like she wanted to buy a ring, Norris said. The woman was shown a solitaire diamond ring, along with several loose diamonds.
At one point the 42-year-old clerk went into the back room, and Walker pocketed the solitaire ring, Norris said. The clerk told police the woman had also bumped a diamond out of her hand while at the counter, then switched the real diamond with a cubic zirconia replica when she picked it up and handed it to her.
Walker told the clerk that she would like to come back and view more diamonds and left her contact information with the employee, Norris said. When the clerk went to put away the loose diamonds, she noticed the presence of the fake jewel and the absence of the solitaire ring.
According to Norris, the contact information Walker left for the clerk was legitimate, and detectives were able to lure her back to the store on Monday. While in the store, the woman browsed more diamonds and tried to sell a stolen necklace.
Officers arrested the woman and found in her possession a loose cubic zirconia piece that was the same size as the diamond she'd asked to view, Norris said. During a search of her home, detectives also found various fine jewelry items and several loose cubic zirconia pieces with their correlating sizes written down.
Because of the evidence found at the home, authorities believe Walker may have victimized other jewelry stores in a similar manner, Norris said. Police are asking jewelry store, pawnshop and consignment store employees to contact San Mateo police if they recognize Walker from her photo, or if she tried to buy or sell jewelry from them.
Anyone with information about Walker or any potential burglaries may contact Detective Nick Ryan at 650-522-7670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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