Man sought in Sarasota pawn scam

SARASOTA -- A man left behind a bag of fake jewelry at a Sarasota pawn shop after he took off with a bag of the real jewelry he had just sold, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reports.

The theft happened at American Gold and Coin, at about 2:45 p.m. in the 4200 block of Bee Ridge Road. The suspect went to the business to pawn a bag of 22-karat gold jewelry and five Saudi Arabian coins, according to a media release.

He was given several thousand dollars in cash, but a short time after he left the store, the victim realized the bag of gold items had been switched with a bag of fake jewelry.

The sheriff’s office warns area pawn shops and local businesses that buy gold to be on the lookout for this suspect and to beware of similar scams, the release said.

The suspect is described as being around 40 years old, 5 foot 8 inches tall and 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, Baltimore Orioles jacket, jean shorts and white high top sneakers. The suspect is missing two teeth on the left side of his mouth.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Criminal Investigations at (941) 861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling (941)366-TIPS (8477), online at or via text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).