August 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM
A Bensalem man faces felony charges of theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft after he allegedly conspired with his uncle to steal and sell more than $2,375 in stolen jewelry, taken from a Montgomery Township home where they were hired as painters, police said.
Michael Romano Jr., is free on $10,000 unsecured bail, and has a preliminary hearing set for Sept. 8 before District Judge Andrea Duffy, according to court records.
Romano’s uncle, James Wertz, 40, of Philadelphia, faces the same charges, but his case remains inactive, per court records.
On May 31, a theft of jewelry was reported by a resident on the 3000 block of Elizabeth’s Court, police said. The theft occurred between May 27 and May 30, and the resident was not home, due to extensive work being done to the interior of the home, including painting and modification of a fire suppression system, police said.
The resident told police that two pieces of jewelry were taken from her jewelry box in her bedroom: a princess cut, 14-karat, yellow gold, designer diamond ring, valued at $2,375, and a 14-karat gold rope chain, police said.
Police interviewed Romano Jr. on June 17, who worked at the home as a painter, police said, along with Wertz.
Romano was told he was free to leave at any time and did not have to answer questions, police said.
Romano made a statement to officers that they knew to be false, police said. When confronted with the false statement, Romano allegedly said he sold the two pieces of jewelry, police said. He told police Wertz stole the jewelry and asked him to sell it at a pawn shop, police said.
Romano Jr. allegedly sold the jewelry on May 28 at Philly Gold and Diamonds in Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, police said. He told police Wertz was with him when the jewelry was sold.
Romano told police he allegedly received $175 for the jewelry, which he gave to Wertz, police said. In turn, Wertz allegedly gave Romano $25 for the transaction, police said.
Police then interviewed Wertz, who was told he was not under arrest and could leave at any time. Wertz denied involvement in the theft, police said. During the interview, Wertz was asked if he had ever pawned jewelry at Philly Gold and Diamonds, or if he had been present when any jewelry was sold at that location, police said. Wertz then abruptly stood up, and said, “I want to leave,” and then left the station, police said.
On June 19, officers visited the pawn shop and obtained paperwork, which indicated Romano Jr. sold a gold chain and ring for $175 on May 28, police said. Police took possession of the chain and ring.
The alleged victim identified the jewelry as the items stolen from her home, police said.