JSA Puts Out Crime Alert for Convict

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance has issued a crime alert for an escaped convict who is charged with purchasing jewelry with fraudulent personal checks in Kentucky.

Police have linked Sam Shepard, 38—already wanted for escape from a correctional facility in Paintsville, Ky.—to at least four robberies that may all involve jewelry stores. Police say that on Dec. 3 and 9, 2005, Shepard wrote two fraudulent personal checks at two jewelry stores in Fort Thomas, a Cincinnati suburb, for approximately $18,000 worth of jewelry. Police report that Shepard also has been active in Winchester, near the city of Lexington, and Bellevue, another Cincinnati suburb. Though the last two incidents weren’t detailed in the police report, JSA president John Kennedy told JCK that he believes all four incidents involved jewelry stores.

On both reported incidents, police said, Shepard visited the store after normal banking hours and asked to look at 2.00 ct. diamond rings. After agreeing on a price, he paid for the jewelry with personal checks written against accounts that had been closed for several months. Because the bank was closed, the sales associates were unable to verify that the account had sufficient funds. Shepard then was able to convince the sales associates into completing his purchases without check verification, and was allowed to leave with the jewelry.

Campbell County District Court issued a warrant for Shepard’s arrest on Dec. 15 for the two Fort Thomas cases. Four days later the same court issued a warrant for the alleged robbery in Bellevue, authorities said. Both warrants charge Shepard with “theft by deception.”

Shepard is described as a white male with brown hair who stands 5-feet 8-inches tall and weighs 195 pounds. He has been seen driving a blue 1997 Dodge sport utility vehicle with Kentucky registration, police said.

Kennedy said he issued the crime alert by mail and e-mail at the request of Kentucky authorities.

“Escaped convicts can be trouble,” Kennedy said. “We have an arrest warrant in this case. They’re not that easy to get because you have to identify the suspect.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact detective Ray Metz, of the Fort Thomas Police Department, at (859) 572-1272, e-mail: rmetz@ftthomas.org, or call JSA at (800) 537-0067 or (212) 687-0328.