A 66-year-old San Diego woman is accused of using a sleight-of-hand technique and other deceptive tactics to steal more than $300,000 worth of jewelry in San Diego County, and at stores in multiple states, since 2008.
Huong Thi Tran pleaded not guilty to two grand theft felonies, a burglary charge, and other charges Monday afternoon in a Vista courtroom.
Tran has been stealing jewelry for over a decade in Southern California, Texas, and Virginia, according to the Escondido Police Department.
Her latest target, according to San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Brock Artstill, was Royal Maui Jewelry Store on East Via Rancho Parkway on April 23, 2019.
“This particular case, she goes into a jewelry store, asks to see a few bracelets, ends up buying two pieces of jewelry worth $165. After some jewelry is missing, [the clerk] notices on video that she had placed two bracelets in her purse which worth were $7,200,” Artstill said.
Artstill also described an instance of alleged theft in Long Beach in which Tran is accused of stealing $49,000 in jewelry, and another alleged theft at an Orange County store where Tran is said to have stolen a $5,000 bracelet.
Escondido police confirmed two other robberies, a theft from a store in Arlington, Texas on March 3, 2019, and a theft at a store in Newport Beach on Oct. 12, 2018.