Thursday January 10, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Police said an East Street woman told them she took a friend's earrings in order to buy back the friend's wedding ring, which the woman claims she sold after it accidentally fell into her purse. The woman is also facing charges alleging she stole electronics from her step-father and tried to implicate a neighbor in the alleged theft.

Kelsey B. Jones, 22, pleaded not guilty to two counts of petit larceny and two counts of selling stolen property in connection with the alleged jewelry thefts. In a separate docket, she pleaded not guilty to a felony count of grand larceny, giving false information to police, and five counts of false pretenses or false tokens. She was released on conditions.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer William Tatro, on Dec. 5 he spoke to Melanie Muniz, of Bennington, who said she suspected Jones of stealing her wedding ring. She said on Dec. 2 Jones was at her house and complimented her wedding ring, which had been set aside.

Muniz said the next day, the ring went missing and so she called around to gold buyers to tell them to be on the lookout for it. She was contacted by John Camileo, an employee at Moose's Gold on North Street, who said he thought he bought her ring from Jones along with a pair of earrings, which Muniz was also found to be missing. Camileo told police these items were sold by Jones at the same time.

Police said they spoke to Jones about the matter and she claimed the wedding ring had fallen into her purse while she was at Muniz's home. She said she got scared and sold the ring to Moose's Gold, but upon seeing how upset Muniz was over the ring's loss, took Muniz's earrings with the intent of using them to buy the ring back. Jones told police Moose's Gold no longer had the ring but she sold the earrings anyway, according to the affidavit.

Police said Moose's Gold had both the earrings and the ring, and turned them over to Muniz, who brought them to police for evidence and then had them released back to her.

According to a separate affidavit by Bennington Police Cpl. Christopher Lauzon, on Nov. 17 Jones' step-father, Mark Campbell, reported an Apple iPad3, a Canon EOS camera, and a Dell mini computer were missing from his house. Police said Jones appeared to have a calm demeanor when speaking with them and that she suggested a neighbor was involved in the thefts. There was no forced entry to the house, said police.

Police said Campbell later informed them that he found the Dell along with a Kindle and a computer monitor he didn't know were missing at the Gamer's Grotto on Main Street. Police said the Grotto's owner, Keith Carey, told them that Jones had sold the items to him.

Police said Jones was confronted with this and admitted to the thefts and sale of the items. She also said she sold the iPad to Derrick Brooks, co-owner of Moose's Gold. Brooks told police he did buy an iPad from Jones on Dec. 17, then he turned it over to police.