Jewelry store thief sentenced to prison

Jun 27, 2022

A New Bedford man who stole jewelry from two stores at the Dartmouth Mall has been sentenced to serve up to five years in state prison, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Jesus Torres, 29, pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with two counts of larceny over $1,200 which took place in 2019 and 2020.

According to the D.A.’s Office, Torres first stole a necklace valued at more than $3,000 at the Jewelry Express after he asked to see it on Dec. 17, 2019.

When the clerk put the necklace on the counter, the D.A.’s Office said Torres grabbed it and ran for the exit.  

A warrant for the New Bedford resident’s arrest was issued after the clerk was able to identify him from a photo array.

While still searching for him, the D.A.’s Office said Torres again entered the mall and went into the Kay Jewelers store in February 2020. 

Once in the store, he asked to see a large gold bracelet valued at approximately $8,000. The clerk allowed him to try it on, at which point he ran from the store, the D.A.’s Office said.

This theft was captured on surveillance video.  

A second arrest warrant was issued and he was apprehended in early March of 2020. At the time, Torres was on probation following a three year prison term for similar jewelry thefts.

The D.A.’s Office noted that Torres was initially held in jail, but was one of the first inmates the county released during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Upon release, Torres then disappeared for more than a year, missing multiple court dates and committed numerous misdemeanor shoplifting crimes in the area.

He also allegedly sent the Dartmouth Lowe’s into lockdown when police arrested him in 2021. Torres was found hiding behind some boxes inside of the store.

After this latest conviction, Torres now qualifies for enhanced penalties for habitual criminal offenders if he commits any future felonies.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jeanne Veenstra and the three to five year prison sentence was handed down by Judge Renee Dupuis.

“This defendant has a history of committing similar crimes against victims who are just trying to run a small business or do their jobs," said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III. "He was on probation when he committed these jewelry store thefts, and is clearly someone who has to be kept off the street to protect business owners and the public."