The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Thief Steals $50K Antique Ring From 90-Year-Old Woman and Sells it for $50

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 22, 2014 7:36am
 The $50,000 ring was returned to its owner.
The $50,000 ring was returned to its owner.
View Full Caption

QUEENS — This one's a gem.

A home attendant stole an antique diamond ring from a 90-year-old Long Island woman she was caring for and hawked it for a mere $50, police officials said.

She was nabbed when she discovered the true value of the bauble — $50,000 — and tried to get it back from the pawn shop, where a quick-thinking worker notified police, authorities said Wednesday.

Investigators later found that Sherisse Ricketts, 34, of Cambria Heights, is also suspected of victimizing a 97-year-old Queens Village woman, stealing several items from her.

Ricketts, who has an extensive criminal history, allegedly swiped the heirloom ring from a Long Beach woman, whose name has not been released.

 Sgt. Mary Humburg and police Officer John Iadevaio of the 103rd Precinct returned the ring to its owner.
Sgt. Mary Humburg and police Officer John Iadevaio of the 103rd Precinct returned the ring to its owner.
View Full Caption

The victim, who uses wheelchair, told the police that the ring has belonged to her family for more than 100 years. Her father, she told investigators, used it to propose to her mother.

But Ricketts didn’t realize the ring’s value at first.

Thinking it was cubic zirconia, she sold it at a pawn shop on Jamaica Avenue for $50 on Dec. 11, police said.

After figuring out the ring's real value, the shop's owner contacted the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica.

Sgt. Mary Humburg, who worked on the case with her partner, Officer John Iadevaio, said she searched reports throughout the city hoping that someone reported the ring was missing.

“But I could not find anything that matched a ring like this,” Humburg said.

After the victim discovered that the ring was gone, she reported it to the Long Beach Police Department and investigators began interviewing people who had recently visited the victim, including Ricketts, police said.

During the interview, investigators told Ricketts about the value of the ring, which she denied having.

Ricketts went back to the pawn shop demanding the ring and offering to double the amount she sold it for, police said. But the owner would not return it.

Before Ricketts left the store, the owner noticed that she had a business card from the Long Beach PD with her and notified police, which led to Rickett's arrest on Dec. 16, police said.

The ring was then returned to the victim.

“Her father proposed to her mother with that ring,” Humburg said. “She was in tears. It was very nice to see a happy ending."

The investigation revealed that Ricketts allegedly stole several items from at least one other victim — a 97-year-old Queens Village woman.

In that case, Ricketts is suspected of stealing a silver Tiffany spoon, a necklace with two charms, an earring and a white metal ring, worth about $140.

Police said Ricketts was charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the Queens case and with grand larceny in the Long Beach case, police said.

Ricketts was hired in July by a home attendant agency. The agency told investigators that it conducted a background check, but nothing came up, they said.

According to the NYPD, Ricketts had seven arrests, dating back to 1994, including for several robberies. In November 1997, she was charged with felony assault after she stabbed someone during an argument, police said.

The result of that case was not clear.

In July 1998, she was charged with robbery and attempted murder after she and another person entered a jewelry store in Queens. After demanding jewelry, the man Ricketts was with shot the clerk in the right arm, police said.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Ricketts pleaded guilty to robbery in that case and was sentenced to four to eight years behind bars. She was released on parole in 2004 after less than six years, according to court records.

As of Thursday afternoon, Ricketts had not been arraigned on the new charges, according to the Queens DA’s office, and information about her lawyer was not immediately available.