News item: Stolen diamond

So my question is this: should the newspaper publish the name of the
jewelry store that purchased a $250,000 diamond from a 20-something
kid for $15,000? I’m sure he didn’t saunter in wearing an Oxxford
suit and Italian loafers. I would sure like to know who bought it-
and doesn’t the public deserve to know?

Stolen diamond surfaces in Ohio

2 held in theft of Foothills gem worth $250K
By Eric Swedlund

A 5 1/2-carat diamond stolen during a million-dollar burglary from a
Foothills home in September has been found at a jewelry store in
Cleveland, authorities said.

Detectives with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department were able to
trace the diamond to the jewelry store, and the FBI served a subpoena
at the store and took custody of the diamond, said Deputy Dawn
Barkman, a department spokeswoman.

The $250,000 diamond was taken from a home in the the 7400 block of
North Camino Sin Vacas, in the Rancho Sin Vacas neighborhood, along
with other jewelry and cash on Sept. 26. It is expected to return to
Tucson next week, Barkman said. Several pieces remain missing.

Detectives have arrested two people in connection with the burglary.
Ex-convict Andrew Bennett Soto, 23, was charged with one count of
second-degree burglary, one count of trafficking in stolen property
and two counts of theft. His girlfriend, Petrina Maly, 22, was
charged with theft and trafficking in stolen property.

Detectives believe Maly sold the diamond to a local jewelry store
for $15,000, according to court documents. Detectives then traced the
stone first to New York, then to Cleveland.

The burglar entered the home through an open sliding- glass door.
The home had a security system, but it was not armed.

The victim has offered a large reward for the return of certain
pieces of jewelry, but she was out of town and could not be reached
Wednesday for comment.

Roseann Hanson
Desert Rose Design Studio
Tucson, Arizona


You asked:

So my question is this: should the newspaper publish the name of
the jewelry store that purchased a $250,000 diamond from a
20-something kid for $15,000? I'm sure he didn't saunter in wearing
an Oxxford suit and Italian loafers. I would sure like to know who
bought it- and doesn't the public deserve to know? 

Yes, the public deserves to know, but it’s probably not the
newspaper that’s withholding the name of the store – it’s the
police. If you read carefully, you’ll see that detectives only
“believe” that the store in Pima County, Arizona, bought it for
$15,000. What that means is the detectives know darn well that’s what
happened, but they can’t prove criminal wrongdoing yet. If they
could, they’d bring charges, and everyone would know – criminal
charges are always a matter of public record. But if they can’t prove
it, the cops usually will remain closemouthed on who they’re
investigating, for a number of reasons, ranging from the possibility
that making the name public would harm the investigation up to the
probability that the police department doesn’t want to get sued for

I was a police reporter for a couple years in the Philadelphia
suburbs, and I can assure you that experienced police officers are
economical with their words, and err on the side of being
conservative when releasing As a reporter, you often
know who they’re talking about, just because you know the characters
in town – and I’ll bet anything the reporter knows what jewelry
store is implicated – but you don’t publish it in the paper until
you get someone official saying so. This is because a) you could be
wrong and b) if you are, you are going to destroy someone’s business
and get sued for libel. For ethical reporters (and there are more
ethical reporters than not out there) destroying someone’s business
is the primary concern, for others… well, losing a libel case looks
bad on your resume.

Keep in mind that for all we know, the store that bought it is just
dumb. It seems unlikely, but there is a presumption in the U.S. that
people are innocent until proven guilty. Once the name is published,
even if no charges are ever filed, the folks in question will be
guilty – at least in the eyes of the public. So the cops are careful
to wait until they think they can prove their case – and we should
all appreciate that restraint, because you never know when you may
find yourself an innocent third party caught up in a criminal


Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255

Thank you for a very level headed reply, a lesson for all of us.

In reading Roseann’s message, it would appear several purchasers and
resellers also need to answer for their involvement, not all are
"too dumb" to know. Quite a few now have neither money nor stone.
There will be a lot more to this story before it is put to bed.
“Hot” merchandise although for some a temptation, should not be