Jewelry Store

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2008

Stores foiled alleged plan to swipe jewelry

By Billy Davis
and Rita Howell

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Note to jittery criminals: if you’re already jumpy about snatching a piece of jewelry from a store, don’t get in a conversation with Angie Copeland. 

“I talk so much I think I made them nervous,” she said, recalling the pair of men who entered Dale Copeland Jewelers Wednesday morning.

Copeland, who co-owns the downtown store with husband Dale, is known for her friendly, bubbly persona. That personality apparently clashed with the two customers who walked into the little store. 

The two men were “fidgety,” she said, and they stuttered when she asked where they were from. They finally claimed they were from Oxford.

 “They were gone in less than five minutes,” minus any jewelry, she recalled.

Across town in Batesville, jeweler John Sprouse would later file charges against one of the men for allegedly stealing a gold bracelet. Batesville police identified the suspect as James Earl Sivley, who faces a single charge of shoplifting, a misdemeanor.

According to Sprouse, he had received a phone call from Angie Copeland moments before the pair of suspicious “Oxford” residents walked inside his store.

At John’s Jewelry, Sivley asked to see an entire tray of rings but was turned down according to Sprouse. “I told him he can see any ring he wants to see – just one at a time,” he said.

Sivley next asked to see bracelets, and Sprouse allowed him to see several of them at once.

Sprouse alleges that Sivley slid a bracelet into his pocket, then immediately claimed he was going to the bank to get money and would return to purchase a bracelet.

“He was walking toward the door when I told him there was a bracelet missing,” said Sprouse.

The bracelet was conveniently lying on the floor.

Sprouse allowed the pair to leave, but his wife Linda alerted a third jewelry store, Plaza Jewelers.

Sprouse, meanwhile, called Batesville police and told them where to find a jewelry thief.

Moments later, at Plaza Jewelers, Sheila Flippo and owner Mark Smith spotted a silver PT Cruiser like the one described by Sprouse, stopped in the parking lot near the store. The police were on the phone with Flippo when Sivley entered the store.

“I said ‘he’s coming in the door right now,’” Flippo told The Panolian Thursday.

Sivley had asked Smith to let him view a tray of jewelry, but Smith didn’t get it out, Flippo said.

Sivley left the store. Police converged on the Cruiser and eventually charged Sivley with one count of shoplifting.

“I’m just thankful they called us,” Flippo said of the other jewelry stores. “That’s the way it should be. Even though we’re competitors, we want to take care of each other.”