Pawned stolen jewel alerts police

September 27, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore probably wasn't the best city for James Fedal to visit and pawn a $12,000 bracelet.

First of all, the clerk at Baltimore Gold and Silver, a downtown hockshop, only gave him $765 for the 14-carat, diamond-encrusted bauble.

And second, police said, the suspect willingly allowed the clerk to copy down all kinds of personal information from his driver's license, as is required by law.

All of which led police to get an arrest warrant for Mr. Fedal, 32, of Forest Park, Ill., charging him with armed robbery.

If Mr. Fedal is found, he'll be held on $1 million bail.

Police say the man, along with several accomplices, stole the bracelet during a robbery at the Gold Dust Coin Store on the South Side of Chicago on Sept. 2 -- a robbery that netted the group $20,000 in cash, $30,000 in jewels and an undetermined amount of rare coins.

"We want him bad," said Chicago Detective Joseph Moseley.

Five days after the robbery, police said, the suspect took an Amtrak train to Baltimore -- a 17-hour trip that costs $121 one-way -- and pawned the bracelet at Baltimore Gold and Silver.

Detective Moseley said the man also tried to pawn a commemorative gold watch from the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo -- worth $20,000 -- at another Baltimore emporium but refused to go through with the sale when the dealer offered him only $300.

On Sept. 9, investigators at the Police Department's pawnshop unit reviewed the required list of pawned items. The description of the bracelet jumped off the page, police said.

"We knew it was worth a lot of money," said Sgt. Michael Tabor, head of the city's pawnshop squad. "We wanted to do everything possible to determine if this item is stolen."

Detectives in Baltimore sent the list to detectives in Chicago, who called back to detail the robbery. City police then went to the North Charles Street pawnshop and recovered the bracelet.

After pawning the jewels, Sergeant Tabor said Mr. Fedal took another train to Washington, where police are concentrating their search.

Chicago police said the man is suspected of carrying off several hundred ounces of gold bullion from as many as 20 robberies.

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