Alleged jewel thief caught in Arkansas

A man authorities say is a multistate jewel thief who was in the Blue Ridge and East Ellijay area two Saturdays ago was caught in Arkansas after allegedly stealing an expensive diamond ring and trying to pawn it.

Richard Laracuente, 55, of Portland, Ore., swiped a diamond bracelet in Blue Ridge and tried to sell it later that day at a jewelry store in East Ellijay, police said. He narrowly escaped capture after an officer arrived on the scene.

He is charged with theft by receiving property valued at $500 or more, since the bracelet taken in Blue Ridge was valued around $2,000.

“He stole another piece of jewelry out there (in Arkansas), and they caught up with him the very next day,” Chief Larry Callahan said. “We have confirmed that it is our suspect, but beyond that I can’t tell you a thing because we can’t get (law enforcement there) to talk to us.”

A news story in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette of Little Rock reported Laraceuente was “arrested Thursday, accused of swiping an $8,900 diamond ring from a jewelry store in North Little Rock.”

Laracuente admitted taking a diamond ring on Wednesday from a jewelry store and later tried to pawn it in North Little Rock, according to police reports. Store employees identified him from security footage, the newspaper noted, and also said Laracuente is wanted on theft charges in Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Laracuente is charged by Little Rock Police with felony theft of property, theft by receiving, obstructing governmental operations, possession of a controlled drug substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and two fugitive holds out of Kentucky and Pennsylvania, according to online arrest records. He is being held without bail in the Pulaski County (Ark.) jail.

Callahan was asked how Laracuente’s case would be adjudicated with charges in several states.

“Essentially the way that works is, ‘worst (charge) is first,’” he said. “The people that catch him are obviously going to get their two cents’ worth, but after that we’ll try to coordinate the charges and wherever the most serious offense is, they would come next. He will be carried from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (to face charges).”

Times Courier

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