METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is looking into a pawn shop jewelry theft that store employees blame on Gypsies.
Authorities say it happened March 22 at the Cash America Pawn shop in Metairie.
Employees told deputies two women came into the store and asked to see several pieces of jewelry, and then agreed to buy about $7,000 worth of assorted pieces.
The sale didn't go through because the employee said the women would not provide identification. JPSO says Louisiana law requires buyers provide identification if a customer uses a credit card or is trying to purchase a firearm at a pawn shop.
Deputies say the employee told them the women began speaking Spanish, then switched to another language, possibly Portuguese, when they discovered the employees could understand them.
When the women left, the employees noticed an $1,800 gold chain was missing.
After reviewing surveillance video, police say one of the women was seen concealing the jewelry in her purse during the identification issue.
The employees told deputies they believe the women may have been part of a nomadic ethnic group, Roma, also known as Gypsies. Jefferson Parish deputies say the Jewelry Security Alliance has issued warnings to retailers about small bands of distraction thieves hitting jewelry stores and pawn shops across the country. Similar incidents have been reported in Ohio, Maryland, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
If you can help identify the women, you're asked to call the JPSO Property Crimes Division at 504-364-5323.