Thief switches gold chain for fake, robs Little Havana pawn shop

MIAMI (WSVN) - Surveillance video captured a man stealing hundreds of dollars from a Little Havana pawn shop Tuesday by switching out a gold chain for a fake one.

Video clearly shows the man, in a backwards blue baseball cap, presenting a gold chain to pawn to a store employee. The employee does the math and determines it’s worth $670, then hands it back to the man, who switches it out for a fake one and leaves with the money.

“It’s pretty disturbing. It’s very upsetting. We felt victimized,” the owner said.

The sly thief hit the Esmeralda Joyeria pawn shop on Southwest First Street, near 12th Avenue, around 12:30 p.m., Tuesday.

7News crews were there after the cops were called. The shop owner discovered that other stores nearby may have been hit by the same man.

“You can tell by the way, the mannerisms of the individual in the video, that he has experience,” the owner said. “He’s basically trying not to communicate to the senior sales person here.”

Surveillance video shows the man might have had help, as two other men came into the store at the same time and distracted other employees.

“These individuals are not your common thieves that just come in and out and grab and run,” the owner said. “These people are professionals. They wait for the right moment.”

The surveillance camera also captured clear images of the thief’s tattoos.

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The shop owner hopes that by speaking out, he can keep other store owners from becoming victims.

“We learned an expensive lesson today, and hopefully someone else can learn from our mistakes,” the owner said.

If you have any information on this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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