A 30-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to stealing multiple rings from clients in Irvine and was immediately sentenced to 270 days in jail.
Daniel Cervantes accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Andre Manssourian, who has given him time to pursue house arrest or doing his time in a city jail on a schedule that allows him to keep working, his attorney, Jeremy Goldman said.
Cervantes has repaid about $21,000 to the victims, so the judge wanted the defendant to keep working to pay restitution, the attorney added.
“The judge recognized his remorse and efforts to make these people financially whole,” Goldman said. “The judge recognized that if he goes to jail and loses his job then his ability to pay the victims restitution will be gone… So he’s allowing him to pursue a jail situation that allows him to keep his job and make payments.”
Cervantes pleaded guilty to 14 counts of grand theft and eight counts of petty theft from a pawnbroker.
When he was arrested in February of 2017, Irvine police estimated the loss of the rings at about $40,000, according to Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department.
Cervantes worked under the business names Diamonds are Forever and Cervantes Jewelers.
Police had recovered numerous rings prior to Cervantes’ arrest, Mohr said.
One of the recovered pieces belonged to Nicole Sarber, who had made a public plea for the return of an heirloom, 2-carat platinum diamond ring that’s been passed down for generations in her family, Mohr said.
Sarber’s boyfriend had obtained the ring from her family and asked Cervantes, who was a longtime friend, to clean and polish it before he popped the question, but the jeweler never returned the ring, Mohr said.
A man called police after hearing about Sarber’s missing ring on a local news broadcast and said he, too, was a victim of Cervantes but had been able to reclaim his stolen property, Mohr said.
The caller directed Irvine police to a pawn shop in Costa Mesa, where they recovered three rings allegedly stolen by Cervantes, Mohr said.
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