Ex-clerk charged in theft of jewelry in Waterford

Waterford - A New London woman is accused by police of stealing about 1,600 Pandora Jewelry bracelet charms with a retail value of $125,000 and selling them online.

Chassa Ladson, 21, of 33 Summer St., New London, was charged Thursday with first-degree larceny at Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, where she had worked as a sales clerk.

According to the arrest warrant, staff at Jared conducts an inventory of the store's Pandora beads and charms twice a year. It was during an inventory that the store learned 1,341 Pandora charms were missing.

Police were called to the store at 5 Dayton Place, one of 1,300 Jared stores nationwide, on Sept. 26, 2012, to investigate.

The store paid $33,325 for the charms before marking them up for sale, according to the warrant. According to Pandora's website, charms retail from $25 to nearly $1,000 for ones made of gold and precious stones.

First store security and later Waterford Police Officer John Bunce III interviewed Ladson. A written state ment from Ladson was obtained by the store and Ladson's employment was then terminated.

According to the warrant, Bunce determined she had stolen about 1,600 Pandora charms from the store since December of 2011, when she was hired.

Ladson said she had an accomplice who helped her sell the jewelry through eBay using Ladson's PayPal account, but she said he had moved to North Carolina and that she was prepared to "take the fall" for the larceny, according to the warrant.

She told police that she would take about 20-25 Pandora charms each shift during the four or five shifts she worked per week by concealing them in her sweater pocket.

According to the warrant, Ladson said she "did not steal 1,600 pieces of Pandora, but it was more around 500 pieces." She said other store employees may have inadvertently left the missing charms on customers' bracelets when customers wanted to see the placement of the charms on their bracelets before buying them.

Store officials indicated to police that type of loss was unlikely.

A search warrant for records of Ladson's credit union account from December 2011 to September 2012 found $6,217.12 in deposits from her online PayPal account.

Ladson is scheduled to appear Wednesday in New London Superior Court.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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