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Sister leads police to accused Delmont jewelry thief

Chuck Biedka
| Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Surveillance photos that were publicized in the media led to the arrest of an accused ring thief.

Debra McAdams, 44, whose last known address was in Delmont, was sent to the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond for allegedly taking four rings from Seita Jewelry on July 14, Tarentum police said.

Tarentum police accuse McAdams of tricking employees and deftly exchanging four fake rings with three engagement rings and an anniversary ring worth a total of about $38,000.

McAdams is charged with theft and receiving stolen property.

She is separately charged with stealing jewelry in Washington Township last month. She is charged there with theft and criminal attempt-receiving stolen property.

According to arrest papers, Seita surveillance photos show McAdams looking at rings and four times shows her "swap out rings" while an employee wasn't looking.

Surveillance photos were published Friday in the Valley News Dispatch and widely shown on television.

McAdams' sister called police Saturday after seeing the photo and story in a newspaper and television, said Tarentum Detective Mark Glogowski.

McAdams' sister, according to Glogowski, told police she saw her sister with the rings, that her sister had been in trouble before, and "enough was enough."

Tarentum police Sgt. Brandon R. Miller asked Seita employees if they could pick out the woman from a photo lineup. When they did, Miller got a search warrant.

He called state police when he learned that McAdams was probably at a cabin in Warren County.

"Miller pulled this together and he did it quickly," Glogowski said.

McAdams was arrested in Warren County and two Tarentum constables brought her back to Allegheny County.

She was arraigned at Night Court late Saturday. A judge ordered her jailed in lieu of $25,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Since then, Washington Township police have charged her with taking at least one ring there.

The rings stolen from Seita's haven't been found.

According to the state Department of Corrections, McAdams served a jail sentence for receiving stolen property and escape in the 1980s.

Seita owner Kurt Marino praised police.

"The Tarentum police chief and his men dug and dug and dug," he said.

Preliminary hearings haven't been scheduled yet.

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