Jewelry stores on alert for diamond thief

North Star Mall suspect spotted in New Braunfels, Austin

SAN ANTONIO – Jewelry stores are on alert after an alleged diamond thief using a bogus gift card has been spotted this month in New Braunfels and Austin, the same woman suspected in last October’s theft at Gurinsky’s Jewelers in North Star Mall.

“She’s using the same name, the same address, the same phone number, everything, using all the same information,” said Leslie Anderson, Gurinsky’s comptroller. “She’s not scared.”

Anderson said the woman walked in around closing time last fall with a younger woman she claimed was her daughter.

“The woman said her and her sisters had pooled their resources and put the money into a gift card to buy a diamond for their mother,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the woman chose a 2.3 carat round diamond worth $25,000.

She said the woman managed to deceive one of their seasoned sales associates.

Anderson and Rhonda Gurinsky, the store’s co-owner, discovered what happened the next morning.

Gurinsky said the woman obviously knew what she was doing, even concealing her face from surveillance cameras with her hair and sunglasses.

“It was way too smooth,” Gurinsky said.

Anderson said when the gift card was declined, the woman offered to call her bank.

“So she calls her accomplice. I’m sure that’s who it was,” Anderson said.

Anderson said she even handed the phone to the sales associate.

“They gave him a fake authorization number,” Anderson said.

Unaware the store pushed through the transaction, she said.

Anderson said normally authorization numbers are given by the store’s credit card company to ensure payment.

She and Gurinsky said a jewelry store in New Braunfels chose to decline the transaction, but another store in Austin lost a 2.5 carat diamond.

“It was stunning because we never in 35 years of business had something like this happen,” Gurinsky said.

A spokesman said forgery and property crime detectives are investigating.

Gurinsky said she predicts the woman will be back in the San Antonio area.

“I think she’s that brazen. She feels that confident and I hope she feels confident enough that she’ll be caught,” she said.