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Accused jewel thief describes violent history

February 10th, 2014 9:37 pm by Becky Campbell

Accused jewel thief describes violent history

Kingsley Michelle Perkins

A North Carolina woman accused of stealing three rings worth more than $93,000 from a local jewelry store told a judge Monday she has multiple “violent crime” convictions in her home state.

Kingsley Michelle Perkins, 28, 631 N. Mclin Creek Road, Conover, N.C., appeared in Washington County Sessions Court for an arraignment on charges of theft of property over $60,000. Judge Don Arnold appointed the public defender’s office to represent her in the case.

During the hearing, Perkins answered several questions from the judge, including one about who else was charged in the lucrative heist. She named two men also allegedly involved.

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“One of them is my brother,” and he was driving the car that day, she said. She also named a man she said was a close friend, but didn’t reveal his alleged part in the crime.

The theft happened at Dempsey’s Jewelers, 3018 Peoples St., on Jan. 29, when Johnson City police say Perkins went in and asked to see some rings. She looked at three diamond engagement rings — each three to four carats — and as she tried them on, she grabbed the rings and ran out of the store, according to police and court records. A police report indicated the woman took three rings — one valued at $45,000, another valued at $25,000 and one valued at $23,800.

Police Lt. Steve Sherfey said a phone tip led investigators to North Carolina to look for Perkins.

On Thursday, a warrant was issued for Perkins’ arrest, and the Conover Police Department arrested her on a fugitive from justice charge in North Carolina. She waived extradition to Tennessee and was brought back to Johnson City.

Her brother, whose name was not available, was reportedly also arrested but is being held in North Carolina on other charges.

On the day of the heist, police said Dempsey’s employees reported that the woman got into a small, white newer model vehicle, possibly a Toyota Camry, and left the parking lot. Police pulled two photographs from Dempsey’s surveillance cameras, two showing the woman and one showing the vehicle. Police said a man was driving the vehicle, but had no concrete description of him.

Following Perkins’ arrest, police said the investigation was continuing and more arrests were expected.

During Perkins’ arraignment, Arnold asked her about any prior convictions. She said she has convictions for possession of carrying a concealed weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon of mass destruction, which she said was a double-barrel sawed off shotgun.

Perkins told Arnold she served about a year and four months in jail on those convictions.

“I’ve done all my time,” she said. “I pretty much ate the charges for somebody.”

Perkins also told Arnold she is now unemployed, having previously had a job at a family friend’s produce market, “and here I sit.” She also said she lives with her mother and her two children, ages 11 and 6.

Perkins remains in the Washington County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond. Her next hearing is Thursday.

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