Daniel Cervantes, a 27-year-old man who lived in Santa Ana with his parents was arrested by the Irvine Police tonight on suspicion of stealing high-end jewelry, including an engagement ring from 1892, from at least four people who asked them to do work on the pieces, according to the O.C. Register.
Cervantes, a former employee at Nathan Alan Jewelers, told the victims that he could polish or resize their engagement or wedding rings. However he would never return the jewelry to his customers – even after they paid him for his services.
Cervantes is now facing seven counts of grand theft but he is refusing to tell the police what happened to the stolen jewelry. The police believe there might be even more victims to be found.
Cervantes had a girlfriend in Irvine. The police began to investigate him around August but at the time they did not yet know who he was. And they started with only one victim.
That victim was Nicole Sarber, who started posting on Facebook and Yelp about Cervantes in the hopes of finding other victims. Eventually three more victims contacted Sarber, who lived in San Diego.
In July Sarber’s fiance, Julio Cuellar, had requested permission to marry her, from her parents. Sarber’s mother gave Cuellar a family heirloom – a two-carat diamond engagement ring that was first worn by Sarber’s great-great grandmother, when she got engaged in Cork, Ireland way back in 1892.
Cuellar hoped to get the ring polished. He knew Cervantes through a mutual friend. At the time Cervantes told him it would just take a couple of hours to clean the ring. But then the two hours turned into days and then weeks. Cuellar eventually realized he had been fooled by Cervantes – a man he had known for five years.
Cuellar eventually had to tell Sarber and her parents that Cervantes had made off with the heirloom ring.
They finally went to the police.
The ring was worth about $40K but it had a lot more sentimental value as well.
Cervantes is facing seven counts because some of the victims made multiple payments to Cervantes while he was allegedly working on their rings. Each payment counts as grand theft.