MDI man arrested after allegedly stealing more than $100,000 in jewelry

Posted Jan. 16, 2014, at 12:33 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Mount Desert man is facing a charge of felony theft after he allegedly stole more than $100,000 worth of jewelry from a relative’s house on Surry Road, according to police.

Stafford K. Venema, 22, was arrested on Jan. 11, Ellsworth Police Chief John DeLeo said Thursday. Venema was charged with class B theft, which carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, because of the value of the items that were taken, he said.

DeLeo said Venema is believed to have taken the items over a recent period of weeks, possibly stretching back into November. Eight pieces of jewelry and some silverware are among the items Venema is suspected of taking from the home, he said. Some items have been recovered, but it is likely that some never will be, he added.

According to statements made to police by the victim, the total estimated value of the stolen items is $116,350, according to the police chief. He said police have not been provided with copies of any appraisals of the jewelry.

DeLeo said police believe Venema used money he got in exchange for selling some of the items to illegally purchase prescription pills.

Venema is due to appear in court in Ellsworth on Feb. 18, police have indicated.

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