WESLEY CHAPEL — A jewelry store employee is accused of stealing more than $23,000 in jewelry so he could pawn it for cash. Emanuel Rivera, who worked in sales at Zales at The Shops at Wiregrass, was arrested Friday and charged with multiple counts of grand theft, dealing in stolen property and giving false verification to a second hand dealer.
Rivera, 25, is accused of purposely damaging jewelry — snipping off pieces of gold from necklaces and taking one earring of a pair — and pawning what he stole and dumping the rest in a box of damaged jewelry, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report states. Rivera, of 4528 Stengal Loop in Wesley Chapel, told an investigator he did it "due to financial hardships," the report states. The thefts were noticed internally at Zales, investigated by the company's loss prevention team and then reported to the Sheriff's Office, authorities said.
Rivera remained Monday at the Pasco jail in lieu of $95,000 bail.