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Cops: Toms River Gold Buying Shop Scammed Burglary Victim

After stolen ring pawned, shop replaced diamond with cubic zirconia, authorities say

Toms River police have arrested the owner of a Route 37 pawn shop who they say replaced a burglary victim's diamond with a cubic zirconia before returning the piece of jewelry, which had been taken in a burglary.

Ann Paris, 65, of Bayonne, the owner of Aaron’s Gold Store, as well as the store's manager, Walter Hodnovich Jr, 39, also of Bayonne, were arrested on theft charges earlier this week.

According to police spokesman Ralph Stocco, the arrests stem from a residential burglary that occurred in April, for which a Bass River Township man, Juan Morales, 24, was arrested. In the Knollwood Court burglary, police say Morales took several pieces of jewelry and antique coins, including a platinum double diamond ring valued at $15,000.

That ring, police now say, was sold to Aaron's Gold Store for $140.

By Township ordinance all purchased property must be held by the establishment for seven days and no modifications are allowed to be done to the merchandise. But while Aaron’s Gold had maintained the ring according to the ordinance, authorities charge that they removed the diamonds and replaced them with cubic zirconia’s prior to it being returned to the owner.

"The burglary victim had the forethought to keep photographs as well as appraisals of her jewelry just in case something like this ever occurred," said Stocco, which proved the ring contained a real diamond prior to the burglary.

Both Paris and Hodnovich were released on $5,000 bail.

Stocco said the investigation is continuing and more charges or actions may be taken against the business owner and manager.
Sawdust Makerhere June 11, 2014 at 07:09 PM
Close the dump down.
suz June 11, 2014 at 08:00 PM
Makes me wonder why residents from Bayonne opened a pawn shop so far from where they live...perhaps they know of the many house burglary in TR? Hummmm. They obviously were thieves themselves! I am so glad they were caught.
grace June 12, 2014 at 03:12 PM
wow this is just too much! gotta love these pawn stores..NOT
grace June 12, 2014 at 03:14 PM
go to a reputable jewelry store like corrines!
barbara June 13, 2014 at 11:20 AM
I would avoid those places like the plague. Deal with a reputable jeweler.

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