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Jeweler gets probation over poor record-keeping on sale

| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A Latrobe jeweler will serve one year on probation for failing to complete required paperwork at his shop.

Leonard Shepler, 45, of Ligonier Township, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two misdemeanor offenses after police learned that he had purchased jewelry, valued at $5,000, that had been stolen from a Latrobe home.

Police said Shepler, the owner of Len's Jewelry and Repair, failed to fill out required paperwork detailing the sale. Those documents must be submitted to the state police.

“The situation is the unfortunate result of poor record-keeping on the part of Mr. Shepler,” said defense attorney Chris Nakles. “He is doing all he can to make sure that the victims here are compensated in full.”

As part of the plea deal approved by Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway, Shepler paid $2,000 to the owner of the stolen jewelry as restitution. He will be required to repay another $3,000 that is owed to an insurance company.

Suspects from the jewelry heist told police they did not show Shepler identification or sign any documents related to the sale, according to court records.

Investigators found that Shepler failed to file information about the precious metal purchases he made between March 21 and May 12.

In addition, police charged Shepler with failing to keep records at his Latrobe shop from Oct. 25, 2011, to May 17, 2012.

Precious metal dealers are required to hold valid licenses for that work. The licenses are sold for $50 by the county sheriff's office.

Shepler told police his precious metals license expired in 2001. According to the sheriff's website, Shepler now has a valid license.

In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed 20 additional charges of failing to keep records and a related offense of receiving stolen property.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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