Arrest made in jewelry shop heist - - Jackson, MS

Arrest made in jewelry shop heist

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

FLOWOOD, MS (WLBT) - Flowood Police have surveillance video Thursday identifying 55-year-old Gary Shurden of Madison as the man who visited Newton's Fine Jewelry in Flowood three times Tuesday and Wednesday. 

On the third trip, he swiped an $11,000 diamond ring when store owner Newton Starnes turned his back.

"I pulled out two round brilliant diamonds and a white gold mounted. During the presentation I got complacent," Starnes said. "He picked one, crossed his arms, had it hidden.  He left the store.  When I was able to turn around, (the diamond) wasn't there," Starnes said.

On the man's first trip, Starnes said he was fairly well-dressed and drove a black Mercedes.  On the second two trips he was dressed in a green short-sleeved shirt and jeans and drove a silver Buick LeSabre.  But he seemed to know jewelry. 

"He handled the jewelry.  He handled the loop we used to look at stones with ease as if he'd done this before," Starnes said.

Is it possible Shurden was responsible for two jewelry thefts in the past six days?

A separate jewelry heist happened at Crossgates Jewelers in Pearl Saturday morning.  Police were not called in that incident because no one actually saw the man steal the ring, but when we showed employees the surveillance photos of the theft in Flowood, they said it might have been the same man who entered their store Saturday morning.

Shurden was arrested Thursday at Paula's Fine Jewelry in Pearl, when the store owner recognized him from the photos.

"I turned him over to someone else, so I could make a phone call because I recognized him from the other jewelry store," Paula Newsham said.  "There's nothing worse than having someone take something from you.  I just thought it was the right thing to do."

Meanwhile, Starnes is getting a buzzer system installed on the door of his business. "That will be up and running tomorrow.  Buzz in, buzz out," he said.

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