Crimetracker: Deputies bust jewelry for pills operation

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

ATHENS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Rings, necklaces and earrings - McMinn County detectives found over $15,000 of stolen jewelry inside Kim Sharp's home in Niota. Sharp's daughter-in-law, Penny Dawson, lives next door.

"It's shocking, I mean, you feel bad for her, she went to jail. But then again, like I said, it'll give her a chance like I said to straighten up," said Dawson.

Deputies said Dawson was running a pills for jewelry operation out of her home. People would bring her stolen jewelry, guns or other items and she'd give them pain pills like Oxycontin and Oxycodone.

"Of late, jewelry theft seems to go hand-in-hand with drug trafficking," said McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.

He said it's a problem authorities are dealing with all over the state.

"Jewelry is very hard to work because there's no serial numbers, no identifiers neccessarily to trace through the systems that we've got," said Guy.

He said don't keep your jewelry in a jewelry box because that's the first place thieves look.

"And also photograph your jewlery. Especially the pieces that are important to you, the pieces maybe that were handed down through your family," said Guy.

Guy said anyone who has had jewelry stolen is invited to the Sheriff's Office Friday to see if any of this jewelry is theirs.

As for Sharp, she's still in jail, facing multiple drug and stolen property charges. Her daughter-in-law hopes Sharp eventually straightens out so she can meet her new grandson, who's due in August.

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