Rochester jewelry business warns of street scammers

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A Rochester business wants to warn people about street scammers who are selling fake jewelry.

“If it pulls to the magnet, don’t buy it,” said Mike DeMarino, the owner.

DeMarino said using a magnet is one of the best ways to tell if the jewelry is fake.

“People are bringing in, their bringing in fake jewelry that they’re getting from somebody out in town. Walmarts, Kwick Trips, Targets wherever. Can you help me get some food for my kids, my truck’s out of gas?” he said.

The Rochester Police Department (RPD) confirms there have been reports of people selling fake gold jewelry. An RPD Spokesperson said there was a reported case in May where a man said he needed cash and sold someone fake jewelry outside a Kwik Trip gas station.

DeMarino says these victims of jewelry scams spend at least $200 dollars buying what they believe is a real gold chain or bracelet, and they come to his store asking him to verify if the jewelry is authentic.

“I’ll see it come in and automatically I know it’s not real,” he said. “I would say I get probably two a month.”

DeMarino was also a victim as well. He lost more than $3,000 when a man came into his store and sold him a fake gold chain.

He said he tested the piece the man said he wanted to sell, and the piece was real. However, when DeMarino turned his back, the man switched out the real jewelry with a fake one.

“Some people are embarrassed to tell somebody else because they feel stupid. I feel pretty stupid, but if I can help more people not get caught with this, I guess it was worth it,” DeMarino said.

RPD said if people are approached to buy an item off the street to, “say no and walk away.”

RPD also said there have been cases in Rochester where someone takes off another person’s real jewelry and replaces their chain with a fake one.

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