NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who stole $70,000 worth of jewelry from a store where he had worked pleaded guilty in court Thursday.
Demetre Sakelson, 47, of Palm Harbor, worked at Custom Jewelry Creations in front of Gulf View Square Mall for several years until he was let go last fall, Pasco County Sheriff's reports said. Then on Nov. 2, someone broke in, burglarized the shop and was caught on videotape. The store's owner recognized Sakelson, the reports said.
Sakelson pleaded guilty to burglary and grand theft charges and was sentenced to a year in prison, followed by 2-1/2 years probation and drug treatment.
The store owner, who has known Sakelson since he was 19, didn't want him to face any prison time, but prosecutors and Circuit Judge Michael Andrews thought it was necessary.
Much of the jewelry was returned, prosecutors said, but Sakelson still must repay about $20,000 in restitution.