Jewelry store thief sentenced to prison

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A New Bedford man who stole jewelry from two Dartmouth Mall stores has been sentenced to five years in state prison, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Jesus Torres, 29, pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with two counts of theft over $1,200 that occurred in 2019 and 2020.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Torres first stole a necklace worth over $3,000 from Jewelry Express after asking to see it on December 17, 2019.

When the clerk put the necklace on the counter, the prosecutor’s office said Torres grabbed it and ran for the exit.

A warrant for the New Bedford resident’s arrest was issued after the clerk was able to identify him from a series of photos.

While still looking for her, the prosecutor’s office said Torres re-entered the mall and entered the Kay Jewelers store in February 2020.

Once in the store, he asked to see a large gold bracelet worth around $8,000. The clerk allowed him to try it on, at which point he ran away from the store, the prosecutor’s office said.

This theft was filmed on CCTV.

A second arrest warrant was issued and he was apprehended in early March 2020. At the time, Torres was on probation after serving a three-year prison sentence for similar jewelry thefts.

The district attorney’s office noted that Torres was initially held in jail, but was one of the first inmates the county released at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Upon his release, Torres then disappeared for more than a year, missing several court dates and committing numerous shoplifting offenses in the area.

He would also have sent the Dartmouth Lowe is in lockdown when police arrested him in 2021. Torres was found hiding behind boxes inside the store.

After this latest conviction, Torres is now eligible for enhanced penalties for repeat offenders if he commits future crimes.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Jeanne Veenstra and the sentence of three to five years in prison was handed down by Judge Renée Dupuis.

“This defendant has a history of similar crimes against victims who are simply trying to run a small business or do their jobs,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said. “He was on probation when he committed these thefts from jewelry stores, and is clearly someone who needs to be kept off the streets to protect business owners and the public.”

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