Westfield Newsroom

FEB23 JewelThief (JPMcK)

Staff Writer
WESTFIELD – A scheme to embezzle money from a local jewelry store came unraveled recently because the suspect did not cash a check.
Westfield Det. Todd Edwards reports that he was advised of the crime after the manager of Richards Jewelers on East Main Street realized that a check she had written to pay for a purchase she had made at the store had not cleared.
She started to look a the store’s bank deposits to find out why.
In the end, an employee whose duties had included making the store’s bank deposits was charged with larceny after more than $20,000 was found to be missing.
Edwards explained that when the manager started to investigate why her check had not been paid she found anomalies with the store’s deposits and alerted the owner, Richard Nadelman.
Edwards learned that one employee at the store had the responsibility to gather the monies received at the store, separate the funds into the store’s various accounts and make deposits at a nearby branch of the bank used by the store
When Nadelman was apprised of the discrepancy with the deposits he interviewed the woman responsible for the deposits who could not explain the missing deposits, Edwards said.
He was told that Nadelman allowed the woman to take a break in the interview to clear her thoughts and she returned with a bank pouch containing two of the missing deposits totaling $3,632 in cash and checks.
The suspect told her boss that she had discovered the pouch under a seat of her car and said she had forgotten to make the deposits. But, she could not explain how she could have overlooked them.
The suspect allowed the store owner to check her car for additional store property and he found four fabric tote bags that were stuffed full of papers which were taken into the store for closer examination.
When additional deposits were found, the police were notified.
The bags contained a jumble of documents including personal financial matters and documents relating to work the suspect performs for her church, Edwards said, as well as three deposit packets containing cash and checks belonging to the store.
Edwards said that there is no evidence to suggest that the woman had made any attempts to cash or deposit any of the checks. “She got caught because she didn’t cash the check” Edwards said. The checks found, he said, had not been stamped to prepare them for deposit indicating that the woman had not planned to deposit them when she removed them from the store.
The store funds recovered were found to total $12,053.08.
After learning of the thefts, the store’s accountant performed an audit and found that, since June, 2011, $20,148.59 was unaccounted for.
Edwards said that the missing deposits began in July and escalated during the year until they peaked during the holiday season. He said that the suspect’s personal accounts have minimal balances and said they contain “nothing significant.”
The examination of the bags found in the woman’s car also revealed a necklace and pendant valued at $300. Both Nadelman and the suspect agreed that there was no reason for the jewelry to be in the suspect’s car.
Edwards reports that his investigation also revealed a ring in the suspect’s bags with a tag attached that appeared to be typical of the tags used in the store. The ring was subsequently identified as property of the store and valued at about $300.
The suspect, a Springfield resident whose identity will not become part of the public record until she is arraigned, was charged with larceny of property valued more than $250 by a single scheme for the embezzlement and for larceny of property because of the jewelry found in her possession.
Since she was not arrested and taken into custody, her arraignment will be at the convenience of Westfield District Court.

Carl E. Hartdegen can be reached at [email protected]

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