Philly man sentenced to prison for leading jewelry theft ring

A Philadelphia man has been sentenced to a little more than six years in prison for leading a theft ring that targeted 12 jewelry stores across the country and sold the jewels back to stores on Jewelers’ Row in Center City.

From May 2018 through February 2020, Duanne Pierce, 60, led a theft ring with seven other people, often stealing from multiple stores in a single day, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Investigators say the criminal group did this to reduce the likelihood of being caught because it presented challenges to law enforcement investigating the out-of-state perpetrators.

Pierce was found guilty of participating in 11 thefts, and his role was to steal jewelry such as diamond rings and gold chains. He would take them from a display case or from the employee-only area of a store, while the others would distract sales associates. He then resold the stolen jewelry to local jewelers in Philadelphia.

In March 2022, a federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment charging Duanne Pierce and co-defendants Charles Tillery, Janel Pierce, Yolanda Fife, David Tillery, Telfa Wills, and Clifton Fleming with conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines, and interstate transportation of stolen property and aiding and abetting. All of the defendants plead guilty.

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